Cherry and Rose Keşkül

Keşkül is a Turkish milk pudding thickened with rice flour.  It has the texture of a semolina custard or a very fine polenta.  It is traditionally made with almonds, but since I already had an almond dessert on the menu, I omitted them.  For those of you who don't like sweet desserts, this is for you.  Like so many middle eastern desserts, the sweetness comes more from a syrup poured over the dessert than the dessert itself, so the sweetness is easily tailored to your own sweet tooth.

Cherry and Rose Keşkül

This recipe is adapted from one in a travel and entertaining issue of Vogue Australia, so it is in metric.  But that shouldn't really matter, because by now you have a digital scale.  Right?

Cherry and Rose Keşkül
makes about 5 servings

For the rose cherries...
400 g cherries, pitted and halved
110 g sugar
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp rosewater (more or less to taste)

For the keşkül...
750 ml milk
80 g rice flour
2 tbsp sugar
90 g honey
1 tsp rosewater
2 egg yolks

To finish...
Pistachios, coarsely chopped

For the rose cherries, place the halved cherries in a saucepan.  Toss with the sugar, water and lemon juice.  Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until cherries are tender.  When done, remove from heat and stir in the rosewater.  Pour the cherries into a strainer to drain off the syrup, but reserve the syrup.

Place some well drained cherries in the bottom of serving glasses and set aside.  Combine remaining cherries with the syrup and chill.

For the keşkül, in a small bowl, whisk some of the milk into the rice flour until smooth.  Pour the rest of the milk into a saucepan, stir in the sugar and bring to a simmer.  Whisk in the rice flour mixture and bring to a boil over medium low heat, stirring constantly.  Stir in the honey and continue cooking over low for another two minutes, until thickened to the consistency of ketchup.  Remove from heat and whisk in the rosewater and egg yolks. 

While still hot, spoon the keşkül over the cherries in each glass.  Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the keşkül and chill to set.

To serve, spoon some cherries and a good amount of syrup over the keşkül and sprinkle with the pistachios.

Keşkül is pronounced basically like it looks minus the "l".  The "ş" is "sh" and the "ü" is just like in German.