Reem Kassis, author of “The Palestinian Table,” shares her recipe for Sweet Cinnamon Vermicelli, a 10-minute dessert from her childhood in Jerusalem. Flavored with cinnamon and walnuts, this throw-together dessert is perfect for cooking out of your pantry. Christopher Kimball visited Reem at her parents’ house last September in the Galilee Valley where he tasted a full range of Palestinian dishes including musakhan, maqlubeh, freekeh, maftool, smediyeh and man’eesh za’atar. Other desserts from the region include a semolina cake, Hareesah, and a cornstarch pudding topped with homemade rose jam. You can see his visit to Galilee on Milk Street Television Season 4, airing this Fall.
Sweet Cinnamon Vermicelli
1 tablespoon butter or ghee
1 cup broken vermicelli (sub with orzo in a pinch)
1 cup water
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon (can sub with cardamom, rosewater, etc.)
⅓ cup chopped walnuts, toasted (can sub with pistachios, pine nuts, pecans etc)
Put the ghee in a saucepan over medium heat until melted. Added the vermicelli and cook, stirring continuously, until it’s a dark golden brown and aromatic. Add the water gently, it may splatter, and mix to combine.
Cover and cook for 3 - 4 minutes (or according to package instructions) until done. Uncover, add the sugar and stir until melted and water is syrupy.
Continue to cook, stirring regularly, until the water is almost entirely evaporated and you have a thick syrup coating the noodles Do not allow it to dry completely as it will absorb more of the liquid once it cools.
Remove from heat, add the cinnamon and nuts and stir to combine. Transfer to platter or individual bowls and serve warm or at room temperature.