Lebanon is the country of food, to be specific, of delicious, savory and appetizing food. Apart from main courses, there is an endless variety of sweet and syrupy desserts. Lebanese desserts are famous all over the world, and many food bloggers use these recipes in their posts. The only disadvantage of local sweets is an extremely high amount of calories, sugar and butter even per tiny piece. I love sweets so much that the word “diet” barely exists in my vocabulary. But I’m trying my best to control the desire, searching for something delicious yet not too heavy. Let me introduce to you my weekly craving for a dessert, which is simply called the Cocktail. It is a mixture of different kinds of fruit purees, usually served in a tumbler or a bowl with a straw and a spoon. There are many kinds of fruit Cocktails in Lebanon, but my favorite one is an avocado and ashta based. I am a big fan of avocado, whether it’s in salads, main courses or in desserts. And as for ashta… Wait, let me tell you what does ashta mean!
When I first visited Lebanon and tried something white with creamy but thick texture (pretty tasteless by itself; nice with honey, nuts and in cocktails), I had no clue what was it. Back then, my husband told me that what we ate was ashta, the mashed pieces of cactus. It was the first (so far the last) though unintended lie I heard from him! My man himself had a little idea of what ashta truly was, as men barely care about details of what they eat and like! Later on it turned out that this dessert was made of clotted milk, cornstarch, rose water and orange blossom water. Ashta is the creamy base of many Lebanese desserts; it is one of the most famous Lebanese ice creams as well, usually topped with pistachio.
Coming back to the Cocktail! I always pick the one that has avocado puree as the main layer, sometimes together with strawberry puree, and cut pieces of mango, banana and pineapple. And of course ashta scoops! On top it can be decorated with pears, kiwi, apple, strawberry, raw almonds and honey. It is so delicious and healthy!
Note: I do understand that this dessert is full of calories, as avocado itself is a heavy kind of product. But I’m sure it’s totally fine as the guilty pleasure once or twice a week. Also you can always replace avocado, banana, nuts and honey with something lighter, or limit the amount of fruit ingredients to one or two with several toppings! This is another great advantage of the Cocktail, you can mix and match it however you prefer!