Lebanese ashta (القشطة اللبنانية) is a great alternative to using triple cream in desserts. Not only is it more figure-friendly, but it also holds its shape well at room temperature.
It is also known as the lying ashta (قشطة الكاذبة), because it pretends to be the real triple cream deal while it isn’t. The real deal is very similar to Iraqi geemar, or clotted cream.
Lebanese ashta is almost invariably used as part of a dessert, and does not serve on its own.
This is a basic recipe, to be incorporated in a plethora of desserts.
A couple of recipes using this ashta will be following soon.
2 slices of American-style white bread
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp cornstarch, diluted in a bit of water
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp orange blossom water
1 tsp rose water
Cut the edges off the bread and dice the soft white part finely (or blitz for a few seconds in a food processor).
Pour the milk and cream mixture in a heavy-bottomed saucepan; add the diced bread.
Heat the milk and bread mixture, add the sugar; dilute the cornstarch in water; stir the milk mixture continuously until it starts to steam; add the cornstarch and keep stirring until the mixture thickens, making sure it does not burn (adjust the heat).
Add the flavored waters if using, stir a few seconds more and remove from the heat.
Pour into a bowl, let it cool and then cover with plastic, pressing on the surface to adhere, and store in the fridge overnight to give the cream a chance to thicken.