Sweet tooth? Indulge with 10 Middle Eastern Ramadan desserts

Set aside the plain ice cream and basic sponge cake and read on for a list of rich and traditional treats

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The month of Ramadan is upon us and as Muslims around the world abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk, day-dreaming about sticky, sweet desserts could be a hazard.

Set aside the plain ice cream and basic sponge cake and read on for a list of rich and traditional Middle Eastern treats that you can savor this Ramadan.


Originally prepared in Egypt and the Levant, these Arabic pancakes can be filled in many ways including with cheese, nuts, apples, pudding or cream.

To be even richer, Qattayef can be soaked in sugar syrup before serving.

Shaped like a half moon, this deep-fried golden brown delicacy can be served as a dessert or as a sweet suhoor snack.


Kunafa is a Levantine dessert made from spun shredded wheat that is filled with cream, cheese, or nuts and raisins.

The pastry, which is originally from Nablus, a city in the West Bank of Palestine, is cooked with butter which helps it get a golden brown crust when baked.

In 2009, a Palestinian confectionary producer entered the Guinness Book of records for the world’s biggest Kunafa pastry, which was baked in Nablus.

Mohannad al-Rabbi, the organizer of the event, said that the plate weighed 1,765 kilograms, 400 kilograms more than the needed weight to set a Guinness World Record.


Crunchy on the outside and soft and airy in the middle, Luqaimat are a well-known dessert among Arabs.

These sweet dumplings, which are dipped in honey or sugar syrup, are commonly called Luqmat al-Kadhi.


One of the most popular Middle Eastern desserts, Basboussa, has various names across the region including Halva de semolina, Love Cake, Harissa, Namourrah, Gâteau de semoule and many more.

The Oriental style sweet, which can be prepared in many different ways according to the country it is made in, is a sugary cake made of cooked semolina soaked in a simple syrup.

The versatile dessert can vary as you can add various flavoring ingredients such as orange, lemon, coconut, chocolate or even nuts to it.


Faloodeh is the Iranian version of the South Asian Faluda – a cold and sweet beverage.

The sweet beverage, frequently considered a dessert, is a thickened rose and vanilla flavored milk, ice cream or water mixed with rice vermicelli, basil seeds, jelly pieces and tapioca pearls.

The mix, which contains many ingredients, is served during the holy month as a cold and refreshing dessert and is a favorite on the iftar table.


This flaky Turkish delight has been one of the most commonly served desserts during the fasting period since the 15th century.

Baklava, which is made of many layers of paper-thin dough with a filling of ground nuts, baked and then drenched in syrup of honey, is traditionally served alongside Turkish coffee.

Umm Ali

Probably the most famous warm desert in Egypt, Umm Ali - which can be translated as the Mother of Ali - is the equivalent to bread and butter pudding.

The desert is made with puff pastry combined with heavy cream to which nuts and dried fruits are added.

Some Egyptians use toasted croissants instead of puff pastry and add vanilla extract or cinnamon to the cream to give it an exotic flavor.


Straight from Morocco, Halwa Chebakia is a sesame cookie which is folded into a flower shape, fried and then coated with honey.

The dessert, which is also served for special occasions, can be accompanied by the famous lentil and tomato soup, Harira.

The sticky sweetness contrasts nicely with the spicy soup, and many consider Halwa Chebakia and Harira must-haves at their Ramadan table.

Bahraini Halwa

Bahraini halwa is a key feature of the Bahraini dessert menu.

The jelly-like sweet, which is made from sugar, cornstarch, saffron and nuts, is locally known as halwa Showaiter.

Halwa Showaiter is usually offered alongside pistachio-filled pastries flavored with rose water, and Arabic coffee.


It is another must try sweet consumed during Ramadan. Mafroukeh is a traditional Lebanese dessert made of semolina, sugar, and butter.

The sticky and stretchy indulgence is infused with syrup, orange blossom and rose water.

It is then topped off with a milk-based cream filling and roasted nuts.