Ghazl Beirut ... Homemade Mastic Ice Cream with Arabic cotton candy


Meet my take on this delightful dessert made of homemade Mastic ice cream, topped with Arabic cotton candy (“Halawa sha3r”, حلاوة شعر) and showered with pistachios.

“Ghazal Beirut” means in Arabic “Weave of Beirut”... ‘Weave’ here refers to the wool-like strands of the Arabic cotton candy topping the dessert, and ‘Beirut,’ the capital of Lebanon, is the birthplace of this delightful dessert. Other versions may be found in Turkey, Greece and Syria.

Mastica, or as we know it, Mastic, is a signature of Arabic and Turkish ice creams. It comes from the Greek island of Chios, which has been known as “the island of gum” since the mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus) was discovered there in 1822. While this little tree can be found also in other places, it is seemingly only on Chios they “weep” their resin when cuts are made in the bark of the branches.
Nuggets of this dried resin are among the first recorded substances chewed by humans for its refreshing flavor (Mastic is the root of the French verb “mastiquer”, meaning “to chew”.)

In Chios, during the Ottoman rule, this ingredient was worth its weight in gold. The penalty for stealing mastic was execution, by order of the sultan.

Arabic cotton candy is the Middle Eastern equivalent to conventional candy floss or fairy floss. The fine strands are made by blending flour roasted in butter into pulled sugar. It’s similar to the Turkish Pişmaniye, which is also called floss halva, a Turkish cotton candy with various types. Halva is pulled into strands with a special method. It is mostly produced in Kocaeli, Izmit.
Another variation could be the Iranian Pashmak (Persian: پشمک‎, means “like wool,” ) a form of candy floss or cotton candy, also made from sugar.

Unlike the regular cotton candy, the middle eastern variation is tastier, denser, silkier. It will melt in your mouth, but it won’t disappear in thin air like the regular one does.

Now, who got the idea of combining these two incredible ingredients together and make Ghazl of Beirut? No one knows, I searched it up but got no luck.

Ghazl Beirut ... Homemade Mastic Ice Cream with Arabic cotton candy

Ghazl Beirut ... Homemade Mastic Ice Cream with Arabic cotton candy

Text and Photos Source: maisonbelhana