There are a whole series of different types of Khabees, or custards, made in all of the Arab Gulf countries, but they are especially popular in Kuwait. These traditional pudding-like sweets, enriched with butter and thickened with cornstarch, are often offered during Iftar, the time in the evening when Muslims come together to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan. Centuries ago, Khabees was considered a food of the urban centers. In fact, it became known as a luxury food, and as one of the foods of the people of Chosroes, the great Persian king. Though the earliest Khabees were made with native ingredients of dates, flour and butter, it was not designated a Bedouin dish. Those who served it were considered to be of the urban class—those who had opted for the city life and forsaken the one of the desert. A num-
ber of varieties developed over the years, and this recipe, garnished with pine nuts and pistachios, is one of the more splendid yet easy-to-prepare versions. This aromatic custard can be served as a dessert or for breakfast.
Serves 4 to 6
Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes
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Thoroughly mix together the dissolved cornstarch and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the cornstarch and sugar mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until it becomes very thick. Reduce the heat to very low and sprinkle on the saffron-infused rosewater and cardamom. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Spread on a serving platter and garnish with the pine nut and pistachio. Serve warm.