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LAYAI LOUBNAN(Nights of Lebanon)


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Layali LoubnanLayali Loubnan translates to ‘nights of Lebanon’, to signify the well-lit nightlife in the capital Beirut. 

The three colors, white, red, and green are the colors of the Lebanese flag. 

Layali Loubnan is very easy dessert to prepare of thickened milk with bananas, and syrup.

It is easy to multiply the ingredients by two or three for a crowd.



Ingredients:  6 to 8 servings


For thickened milk (Ishtaliyeh)    

3 cups milk

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons butter (optional)

1/2 cup cornflour

1/3 cup water

2 tablespoons rose water

2 tablespoons orange blossom water

5 mastic pieces, pounded with 1 teaspoon sugar

3 ripe but firm bananas

1 teaspoon lemon juice

For Kashta

1 cup milk powder

1 cup water

1¼ cups whipping cream

1 tablespoon cornflour

3 tablespoons sugar

4 to 5 “Pain de Mie” bread slices, crust removed (65 g.)

3 tablespoons rose water

3 tablespoons orange blossom water

For decoration

½ cup peeled, flaked almonds

¼ cup pistachios

½ kg. bought date jam in syrup (mrabba albalah, see note below

1 teaspoon cornflour mixed with 1 teaspoon water

To prepare Ishtaliyeh:  

1. Place milk and sugar in a pan over medium heat and bring to the boil, remove from heat, add butter, if being used, and stir to melt.  

2. Mix cornflour and water and add to the hot milk.

3. Return pan to medium heat stirring all the time till the mixture boils and thickens, add orange blossom water, rose water, pounded mastic with sugar, and simmer stirring few seconds, remove from heat.

4. Wet a 24 cm. pan with 2 cm. high sides with little water.  Pour the milk mixture in the pan and leave to cool then place in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight (see note below).   

5. Remove milk mixture from refrigerator and turn to a serving plate.

6. Peel and slice bananas, mix with the lemon juice, and place banana on top of Ishtaliyeh.

7. Prepare Kashta and place it on top of the bananas when cooled.

8. Soak almonds and pistachios separately in hot water for one hour.  Drain and peel pistachios.

9. Remove dates from syrup and simmer syrup with cornflour-water mixture stirring till thickened.  Cool (recipe may be prepared to this stage a day ahead, cover refrigerate).  

10. Top kashta with the dates and pour date syrup on top.  Garnish with the almonds and pistachios and serve cold or at room temperature.

To prepare kashta:  

1. Mix all ingredients except orange blossom water and rose water and place in a pan over medium heat, bring to the boil and simmer stirring all the time till mixture thickens, about 1 minute.  

2. Remove from heat and cool.  

3. Add orange blossom water and rose water.


N.B.:  Ishtaliyeh may be prepared without butter, also it may be prepared and poured directly into a serving plate to cool, in this case use only 4 tablespoons cornflour in place of half cup.


Dates add to the richness of Ishataliyeh but are not essential for this delicious dessert.  Honey may be used to pour on top in place of date syrup.

Kashta may be bought from sweet shops but it lasts 2 days in the refrigerator, home made Kashta lasts a week.

© 2005 Cooking Courses Marlene Matar