For as long as I can remember my mom always made the most incredible Lebanese sweets. She was especially skillful at making baklawa, ma’amoul and one of my all time favorites, namoura!
Almost every Lebanese dessert begins with the most fragrant essences: rose and orange blossom waters. The sweet flavors meld the sugary sweets together but each dessert has its special qualities. Some have the crunch of phyllo dough, while others are filled with nuts or dates. Today I’m sharing my family recipe for Namoura today, a dessert made from farina, butter, milk and sugar. So simple to make but has the flavor and texture you’ll go back over and over for.
You might be wondering if Farina and Semolina are interchangable or even the same for that matter. The simple answer is NO, they are not the same and they are NOT interchangable. They are similar, but not the same. In this version of Namoura, we’re going to be using Farina, which you may also see/know as Cream of Wheat. A common ingredient you can pickup at your local New Seasons Market on the shelf near the cereal.
Farina: Farina is milled from the endosperm of any type of wheat, except for durum wheat (which is milled to make semolina). Farina is primarily used in breakfast cereals and pasta. Comes from softer wheat (not durum wheat). Typically more white in color.
Semolina: This is the coarsely ground endosperm (no bran, no germ) of durum wheat. Its high protein content makes it ideal for making commercial pasta, and it can also be used to make bread. Comes from hard durum wheat. Typically more yellow in color.
So why you ask are we using Cream of Wheat in our dessert? Well, it is the perfect avenue to soak up the delicious syrup and and create a perfect sweet bite.
Unlike some other fussy Lebanese desserts, Namoura is one of the simplest. Most ingredients you’ll have on hand and with one bowl mixing, it couldn’t be easier.
Farina, found as Cream of Wheat
Butter, I like using New Season’s European Style Butter for the best flavor
Rose and Orange Blossom waters
And one recipe for Attyr (simple syrup mixture)
Blanched almonds or pine nuts for topping
When I say this recipe is easy, I truly mean it! One bowl, a spatula and some gentle mixing. My favorite part is not even the main ingredients but what we use to coat the pan, tahini. The tahini creates a non-stick layer but it also creates a wonderful nutty flavor for the numoura. It’s not added to the mixture at all but the simple addition of it in the pan allows it to bake and create a depth of flavor. New Seasons carries many varieties of tahini and best of all, it store really well so you can use it for other dishes like hummus, banana bread or these tahini breakfast cookies.
I hope you take some time this holiday to get baking and share some delicious treats like these amazing Lebanese Namoura treats. They also make a wonderful gift for friends and neighbors. Be sure to check out your local New Seasons market to pickup all your baking needs.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and are able to share this holiday season.
As always, I love seeing your creations. Please leave a review or share your dish with me on social media. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. For more delicious recipes to your inbox, sign up for my newsletter! xoxo, Cosette
A simple and delicious Lebanese treat, perfect for a cookie box.
4 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 squeeze of half a lemon
1 tsp rose water*
1 tsp orange blossom water
small slice of lemon
4 cups Farina (Cream of Wheat cereal)
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup New Seasons European Unsalted butter (2 sticks butter), softened
1/2 tsp rose water*
1/2 tsp orange blossom water*
1 ½ cup warm milk
1/3 cup tahini
1/4 cup pine nuts or sliced blanched almonds
Combine your water and sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed pot. Heat on medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, stir occasionally.
Bring to a boil, allow the syrup to boil for about 5-7 minutes.
Remove from heat after syrup thickens slightly and add your lemon juice and waters.
Pour into a glass container add a small sliver of lemon to store in the syrup. Once cooled to room temperature, store in refrigerator.
Syrup lasts many months in the fridge and can be used on many desserts.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Prepare your pan, you may use a 14.5″ round pan or a half sheet pan (18″x13″)
Pour your tahini in your pan and spread along the bottom and edges of the pan to ensure it’s fully coated. Set aside.
In a large bowl, add your farina, softened butter and waters. Slowly begin adding the milk until a creamy, porridge like mixture forms.
Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven after 10 minutes and make your cuts to create a diamond effect. The mixture will still be soft but should allow you to cut through. At this time you’ll want to press in your blanched almond halves or pine nuts. Press just slightly to allow them to set.
Return to oven and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes until the top turns a reddish-golden color.
Once the namoura is done, immediately pour about 2 cups of your prepared, cooled attyr on the hot namoura. Lift and tilt your pan to ensure the attyr gets into all the crevices of your baked treat.
Allow to absorb and set aside until cool.
Finish cutting through and enjoy!
Store in covered container.
If you are using a high quality extract such as Nielsen Massey, use the measurements indicated in recipe. If you are using a traditional Arab brand, you’ll want to double the extract amounts, they are less concentrated and need a little more to achieve the flavor.
I chose to use a round pan for a diamond star effect, but you can use a traditional half sheet pan to make your diamond cuts.
Attyr can be made ahead and stored in fridge. Use on other desserts such as baklawa