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These Lebanese Shaabiyat are crunchy, dreamy, sweet and absolutely DELICIOUS! These pastries are made with layers and layers of phyllo dough, then filled with a traditional homemade Lebanese Ashta cream filling.

lebanese dessert shaabiyat, phyllo dough stuffed with ashta cream

What are Shaabiyet?

Shaabiyat is a very popular dessert not only in Lebanon, but all over the Middle East. Layers of phyllo dough are brushed with a mixture of shortening and butter or ghee, then filled with homemade Ashta and baked to a golden perfection. In some countries, they are called Warbat Bil-Ashta and they are widely served during the month of Ramadan.

baked shaabiyet in a tray garnished with pistachio

Other popular dessert recipes served during Ramadan are Namoura and Sfouf, which I already have on my blog. Be sure to check out more of my Lebanese Recipes!

Why this recipe works

I have tested this recipe over and over through out the years, so this is a no fail recipe even for non-experienced cooks! Ingredients are super easy to find and the process is not complicated at all. When you make these delicious pastries, you will WOW your guests!

How to make Shaabiyat

You will need to prepare the filling first so that it cools down at room temperature before filling the pastries with it. This is because you want to allow the filling to hold up really well after you cook it. If you are making this on a busy day, you can always prepare the homemade Ashta filling 1-2 days ahead. 

How to make homemade Ashta

Ingredients you’ll need

ingredients for ashta cream, milk, sugar, corn starch, heavy cream, orange blossom water, rose water

To prepare the Ashta filling:

  • In a medium sized pot, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Bring to boil on medium heat while whisking almost the whole time. You do not want clumpy texture but rather a very smooth creamy texture. Once the cream thickens up very well, lower the heat and continue whisking for another minute or so. 

ashta filling in a pot with a whisk

  • Remove the mixture from heat and transfer it onto a Pyrex dish, cover with plastic wrap and let it cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Sometimes after 30 minutes, I cool it in the fridge for another 15 minutes or leave them until I use the next day. 

While you are waiting for the Ashta to cool, prepare the sugar syrup and let them cool. Ingredients listed on the recipe card.

  • Pour all ingredients in a pot and let them boil. Once it starts boiling time it, 5 minutes. Then add the lemon juice, orange blossom and rose water, lower the heat and let them simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let them cool.

sugar syrup in a pot with a lemon wedge

Next, you will prepare the phyllo sheets. Do not do this until the Ashta is ready to be used.

Ingredients you’ll need

phyllo dough, crisco shotening and unsalted butter

  • Melt the butter and shortening in a bowl. Do not over heat. You are looking at about 1 minute in the microwave or just enough to melt in a pot.

melted butter and shotening in a bowl

  • Remove the phyllo sheets from the packaging. Use a cutting board or a clean surface on your kitchen counter. Place a sheet of phyllo dough and brush with the butter mixture. Repeat to stack 15 sheets of phyllo dough on top of each other. I find this amount to be the best quantity for the thickness I prefer.

phyllo dough sheet brushed with butter and shortening

  • You will then need to cut the sheet into even squares. Depending on the size of your sheets, you may be able to wrap the sheets as you see in the photo to guide you through the cut without having to use a ruler. But you must cut them into squares for it to work, how ever way you do that. I got this phyllo dough from target, I love the size it’s perfect (9×14).

demonstration on how to cut the phyllo sheets into squares

  • Place a heaping teaspoon full (normal teaspoon) of the Ashta filling in the center and fold. You want to fill them enough to show on the sides but not over flow them so they don’t come out during baking.

how to wrap the shaabiyat pastery. place ashta in the square phyllo dough

  • Place the pastry pieces on a lined non-stick sheet pan (no need to butter it) and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until they are golden brown in color, depending on your oven. Do not try to broil them, they will burn super fast.

phyllo dough pasty on a pan

  • Once they are done baking, drizzle some sugar syrup on them, about 1- 1 1/4 cup, or depending on how sweet you want them. Garnish with some ground pistachios and let them cool at room temperature for 2 hours. Place them in the fridge uncovered so they can keep their crunch. When ready to eat, transfer to a platter and serve. 

baked shaabiyat on a tray

Expert Tips & FAQs

  • Prepare the Ashta filling ahead to reduce waiting time the day of.
  • Do not over cook the sugar syrup or else it will crystalize.
  • Do not use only butter, I have tried that, it’s not the same. You can replace the brushing mixture with ghee, preferably a vegetarian kind to avoid unpleasant flavors.
  • Do not cover the Shaabiyat after baking. That will make them softer. The crunchier they are, the longer they last, and tastier.
  • It’s important to refrigerate them for at least 2 hours, they taste so much better. Even though some people like having them warm. 

How long do Shaabiyat last?

  • These pastries are best in the fridge for 3-4 days but they will lose their crunch after 2-3 days. I usually throw any left overs after 3 days because we don’t like them after they lose their crunch.

Can you add the sugar syrup later and not after baking?

  • You could, but the dessert will be a bit dry. The best results come with them being drenched in some sugar syrup.

Can I opt out on the orange blossom and rose water syrup?

  • No, I highly recommend adding those. This is what gives if the best flavor.

I am allergic to nuts, can I opt out on the pistachios?

  • Yes, absolutely.

More Lebanese Dessert Recipes to try:

a piece of shaabiyet cut in a plate with a fork holding it

I hope you enjoy all the recipes I share with you including this delicious and simple Lebanese Shaabiyat Dessert recipe. I hope you try it, enjoy it, and share it with your family and friends. If you enjoy this recipe, please give it a start rating on the recipe card. 

You can also sign up for my blog newsletter to receive all the new recipes that I will be posting straight to your inbox. tag me on INSTAGRAM so I can see your delicious recreations. Until our next recipe. XoXo…

 

4.98 from 37 votes

Lebanese Shaabiyat Dessert

These Shaabiyat dessert are Middle Eastern pastries made with layers and layers of phyllo dough, then filled with a traditional homemade Lebanese Ashta cream filling.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
30 for the Ashta: 0 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 16 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 pack phyllo dough, 16 oz, 9x14, from target
  • 3/4 cup crisco vegetable shortening, melted
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup ground pistachios , for garnishing

Ashta Filling

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup corn startch, +1 tbsp extra
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp rose water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp orange blossom water

Sugar Syrup

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp orange blossom water
  • 1/2 tbsp rose water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Instructions 

  • PREPARE THE FILLING: In a medium sized pot, combine all the ingredients and mix well.
  • Bring to boil on medium heat while whisking almost the whole time. You do not want clumpy texture but rather a very smooth creamy texture. Once the cream thickens up very well, lower the heat and continue whisking for another minute or so.
  • Remove from heat and transfer the mixture to a Pyrex dish, cover with plastic wrap and let it cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. You can also cool an extra 15 min in the fridge if you have time.
  • While you are waiting for the Ashta to cool, prepare the sugar syrup.
  • In a small pot bring the sugar and water to boil. Once it starts boiling, time 5 minutes. Then add in the orange blossom water, rose water and lemon juice. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat. Let it cool at room temperature.
  • Once the Ashta has cooled down, you can then prepare the phyllo dough. Place the butter and shortening in a small glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap and melt in the microwave for 1 minute. Do not over heat.
  • To prepare the phyllo dough, place a flat sheet on a board or clean kitchen counter. Brush the butter mixture on the surface of the sheet, and repeat to stack 15 sheets on top of each other.
  • Cut the sheet into even squares. Add a full teaspoon (normal spoon) of the Ashta mixture in the middle and fold to close. Repeat the process for the rest of the sheets.
  • Place the pastries in a non-stick pan lined with parchment paper. Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes until golden brown in color.
  • Remove from the oven and drizzle with 1 to 1 1/4 cup of sugar syrup. You can add more to the pastry while serving, this way you don't over sweeten it.
  • Let it cool at room temperature for 2 hours and refrigerate without wrapping for another 2 hours before serving.

Notes

  • Prepare the Ashta filling ahead to reduce waiting time the day of.
  • Do not over cook the sugar syrup or else it will crystalize. 
  • Do not use only butter, I have tried that, it's not the same. You can replace the brushing mixture with ghee, preferably a vegetarian kind to avoid unpleasant flavors.
  • Do not cover the Shaabiyat after baking. That will make them softer. The crunchier they are, the longer they last, and tastier.
  • It's important to refrigerate them for at least 2 hours, they taste so much better. Even though some people like having them warm. 

Nutrition

Calories: 373kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 164mg | Potassium: 114mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 564IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 1mg
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44 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    It was amazing, my daughter gave me your recipe . I had lots of ashta left, can I freeze the ashta
    Thank you for sharing this recipe, it will be a family favourite

  2. Marhaba Miriam,
    I haven’t made this recipe yet but I’m eager to dive into it! Must phyllo dough be used or can it be substituted with puff pastry?
    Thanks!
    Renée

    1. Hi Renee!
      No you can substitute phyllo with puff pastry. It wont come out right. If you like puff pastry, you can cook the puff pastry sheets in flat forms( like you do for mille feuille) and use the filling to fill the layer in between two sheets (like a sandwich) and add syrup and pistachios in there, but it will be completely different.