Category Archives: Desserts



  In answer to Victoria, a frequent visitor to this blog,  I thought I would share the recipe she requested with all of you.

Hello Victoria: 

The last time we corresponded, you were living in Agadir, in the south of Morocco. I hope you have not been affected by the catastrophic downpours that have plagued the north of the country. Like Southern California, Morocco is  almost always in state of drought. Buckets of rain falling all at once create havoc!

Here is the recipe for mulhalbiya you requested. It is excerpted  from my book,The Vegetarian Table: North Africa. I know mangos grow around Agadir. I have purchased them at the market in Casablanca. They are sweet, juicy, and delicious. Just paint mango slices (or fig halves) with a little honey and grill them over the coals of a canoon (charcoal brazier)




Serves 6


Mulhalbiya is an eggless “custard” flavored with ma’ ward, orange blossom water, and served it in a wide, shallow bowl, so everyone can dip into the communal dish with a spoon. As a variation, I  present grilled figs or mangos in a pool of sauce, and I garnish the plate with candied almonds.


2 ½ cups milk

2 tablespoons sugar

1 cinnamon stick

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons orange flower water

1/2 cup honey

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Ground cinnamon for garnish

6 mint leaves for garnish


     In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring 2 cups milk, sugar, and cinnamon stick to a simmer.

     In a small bowl, whisk remaining milk with cornstarch. Add to the simmering milk, along with orange flower water. Cook, stirring, until you obtain the consistency of a light custard. Pour into a shallow bowl. Serve at room temperature.


From The Vegetarian Table: North Africa by Kitty Morse.





Gale’s Lemon Squares

Makes about 16 squares

From the California Farm Cookbook (Pelican Publishing 1994) (link to, I travelled the length and breadth of California, searching out family farmers, and recording their stories. I also solicited their favorite recipes for the fruits and vegetables they grew. 

Gale and George Cunningham’s orchard is nestled deep in the heart of De Luz Canyon in the northern hills of San Diego County. These squares I make over and over!


1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1/4/ cup powdered sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. lemon juice (preferably Meyer lemon)
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/8 tsp. salt
1tbsp. flour
Powdered sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Crust: Mix crust ingredients. With fingertips, pat mixture evenly on bottom of 9×9-inch baking pan.  Bake 15 minutes, remove from oven, and let cool.

Topping: Cream sugar and eggs until mixture forms thin ribbon. Add in remaining ingredients.  Pour topping over cooled crust, and return to oven for about 20 minutes, being careful not to over bake.  Remove from oven, and run knife around edges of pan. Cool, cut into squares, and sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar.



Couscous Mango Mousse/Mousse de Couscous a la Mangue

Couscous Mango Mousse

Serves 6

I demonstrated this recipe on Sara’s Secrets with Sarah Moulton of the Food TV channel. Kids LOVE this! Use peaches if you don’t have mangoes.

1 cup water
3/4 cup couscous
4 tablespoons sugar
2 juice oranges, preferably Valencia
2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur
1 ripe mango (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream, chilled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
One 8-ounce container vanilla yogurt

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add couscous in a stream. Stir once. Remove from the heat. Cover and let stand until the couscous is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Mix in 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Cover tightly and set aside.

Scrub one of the oranges under running water and pat dry. With a vegetable peeler, remove the zest, being careful not to peel away any of the white pith. Finely mince the zest. Set aside.

Squeeze the oranges to obtain about 3/4 cup of juice. Strain through a medium meshed sieve into a small saucepan. Over medium heat, boil down the juice until it has reduced to about 2 tablespoons, and has the consistency of molten honey, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the Cointreau. Set aside.

Peel the mango and cut the flesh away from the seed. Cut half into thin wedges and coarsely dice the rest. Set aside.

Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Fold in the vanilla and remaining sugar. Refrigerate one cup of whipped cream for serving. In a medium bowl, combine the rest of the whipped cream with the yogurt and diced mango. Refrigerate.

Immediately before serving, combine yogurt-mango mixture and couscous. Spoon equal amounts into 6 parfait glasses. Top each one with a dollop of the reserved whipped cream and a mango wedge. Drizzle with orange-Cointreau sauce, sprinkle with minced orange zest, and serve.

From Couscous: Fresh and Flavorful Contemporary Recipes. Chronicle Books, 2000.