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Thursday, January 12, 2012

AZAHAR - ALMOND MILK DESSERT FROM ZIRYAB

orange blossom
Photo by flowergirl2005
Hisp Ar. azzahár, Ar zahr, Eng. white orange blossom, orange blossom essence. These flowers come from the Sevillian orange tree. In April, all over Seville the flowers emit swee smelling perfume. The blossoms are the most important product from this tree. They are collected in May. Then the petals are dried in the shade and kept in jars. A slightly hypnotic drink is made with orange petals distilled in water and it is drunk as an anti-spasmodic. It is given to women and children like tila. Midwives always carried it for it was thought to restore vigor and vitality to new mothers suffering from fainting spells.  It could be homemade as only a dozen orange blossoms are necessary to boil in water to make one cup. The blossoms, also, are used as tonic to clean the face, to remove old skin and to stimulate replacement with new skin. Medina Azahara, Ar. Madinat al-Zahra, one of the most magnificent palaces in the world, was built 8 km. northwest of Cordova and named for this flower but more importantly for Zahra, ‛Abd al Rahman III (912-61), the caliph’s favorite slave. Building commenced in 936 at the foot of Mount al-Arus (the Newlywed). Although she did not live to see it finished, the entrance was lined with orange trees, which were planted to curb her homesickness for southern Morocco for every April and May when the orange trees were in bloom, they looked like snow. Medinat al-Zahara became the seat of the government in 945 but construction took some 25 years. Four hundred homes housed 12,000 soldiers, 3,750 slaves and a harem of 6,000. A description of all materials used sounds like they came directly out of Knights: silver and gold plate, marble, jasper, crystal rock, pearls and rubies. On November 1, 1010, Berbers attacked and destroyed it. During the following centuries all that could be stripped was carried away. In spite of this, Juana of Portugal and her court stopped there in May of 1455 to powder their noses before her grand entrance into Cordova where she married Henry IV, Isabel I of Castile’s older brother. Since 1911 excavations have been carried out. Today, tourists can picture the city in its splendor by visiting the site. See naranja. [ES: Glos. May 23 03; Gran Enci Andalucia. 1979:6:Martínez:2417-2418; Holt. 1970:I:417; Laza. 2002:102; and Martínez Llopis. Historia. 1981:118:158]

ALMOND MILK DESERT ADAPTED FROM 
FAROUK MARDAM-BEY’S, KICHK AL-FAQARA  p. 180
For 6 persons

Almond Milk Pudding
Photo by: beagleNon
Ingredients

2 c milk
2 c blanched almonds
8 c scalded milk
½ c cream of rice
2 tbsp rose water
2 tbsp orange flower water
1 ½ c sugar

Garnish:
¼ c chopped pistachios or with a fruit variation & orange blossom syrup as seen in the photo (except the kiwi!)

Preparation

Put the almonds in a food processor and grind them into flour.  Add 2 c milk and blend. Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth into a saucepan with the scalded milk.

Add the cream of rice, rose water and orange flower water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Gradually add the sugar. Cook for 1 hr, stirring constantly.  It is ready when it sticks to the spoon.

Pour into bowls, garnish and serve.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like a really glamorous, aromatic recipe, fit to use in case you finish your bottle of Chanel n. 5...!
    Please what is scalded milk? Common boiled milk? Should the ingredients be mixed cool and then heated? How dou you manage to make a nice ball like in the picture?
    For Medina Zahara: I've said it before, but if you happen to travel to Cordoba, don't miss Medina Zahara and its Museum, which has been awarded in an international architecture contest.

    ReplyDelete