This is the simplest version of a famous Middle Eastern dessert. Other variations are called basbousa, halawa or halva.

In Syria, Ma-Mounia (mam-oo-nce-ah) is eaten for breakfast, but it also makes a very good dessert served with whipped double cream.


4 oz. unsalted butter

4 oz. semolina

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

SYRUP pint water

10 oz. sugar

1 fl. oz. lemon juice

First make the syrup. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the water, sugar and lemon juice. Place the pan over moderate heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high and boil the syrup for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam sub-sides, add the semolina and fry it, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until it becomes crumbly in appearance.

Pour in the syrup and mix it thoroughly into the semolina. Cook the mixture for a further 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside for 15 minutes.

Spoon the pudding into a serving bowl, sprinkle with the cinnamon and serve while still warm.

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