Arabic desserts to try

Make sure you pick up a batch of these traditional Arabic desserts

Baklava
Just as the Gulf has inherited biryani from India and Vimto from the Brits, baklava is a Turkish import that’s been wholeheartedly embraced. This rich, sweet treat is made using layers of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and held together with honey, flavoured with rose water or orange blossom. It’s then served at room temperature and garnished with ground nuts.
Try it at:
Various types of baklava will set you back Dhs24 at Turkish restaurant Sofra Istanbul. Get a box to take away.
Next to Adnoc petrol station, Muroor Road, Al Dhafrah (02 677 7767).

Umm Ali
Arguably the Middle East’s most famous dessert. It’s an Egyptian version of bread pudding made with puff pastry, condensed milk, cream, nuts, sultanas and shredded coconut. There are numerous legends surrounding its birth. The one we like best is of a Sultan who got a little peckish and stopped off at a nearby village. He had the locals call upon their best cook. The cook? Why, Umm Ali (‘Ali’s mother’), of course.
Try it at: Zaytinya chefs add a dash of rosewater and caramelise the top.
Dhs30. Zaytinya. Al Seef Village Mall, near Khalifa Park (02 447 4489).

Kunafa
The Middle Eastern version of cheesecake, kunafa was originally a speciality of the Levant, but is popular across the region. Its base is a stringy, stretchy cheese akin to mozzarella (often Nabulsi cheese from Palestine), which is then rolled in pastry or shredded filo dough and topped with syrup. There are numerous ways to create this dish, but each variety brings something delicious to the table.
Try it at: A dozen varieties are available at Just Kunafa, from Dhs25.
Various locations including Dalma Mall, Musafah (02 555 6456).

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