Ashta, also known as kashta or qashta, is a variety of clotted cream mostly used in desserts in the Arab world especially in the Levantine, also called Geymar in Iraq or kaymak In Turkey.
There are many ways to make the traditional ashta some require more time than others. Traditionally, it is made with the freshest full-fat milk you can find that’s reduced down and the Cream layer that forms on top is called ashta. The milk is reduced down creating a silky smooth and thick cream perfect for desserts. Others use methods like in the making of ricotta cheese where you add lemon juice or vinegar to milk or a mixture of milk and heavy cream and separate the milk from the whey creating a decadent cream. Often ashta is finished with orange blossom and rose water for flavor.
Other variations just thicken the milk with cornstarch like I did in this simple recipe here. Although ashta can be enjoyed as a dessert on its own, served with fruit, or drizzled with honey, or date syrup, and garnished with nuts. But it is commonly used in various desserts such as qatayef, mutabak, layered with harriseh, even in knafeh as a different variety from the cheese knafeh.
Speedy ashta recipe
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup full fat milk (although I tried it with 2%, and it was great)
2 tbls cornstarch
2 tbls sugar
Flavorings: 1 tsp orange blossom water or rose water or even vanilla
Combine all the ingredients except the flavorings in a medium pot and whisk well until the cornstarch dissolves.
On medium heat. Bring the mixture to a gentle bubble whisking constantly so it doesn’t stick.
You will notice that the mixture will become thicker in about few minutes.
Once you get the desired consistency turn off the heat and add in your flavorings.
Pour into a heatproof bowl and press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
refrigerate until cold and it will get thicker as it sets.
Store in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.
Use as a dessert on its own or use it in your favorite recipes.