Sweet Art

A meal isn’t complete without a sweet treat. This is especially true during Ramadan, when desserts play an integral part in the art of hosting. We visited Fen Café and Restaurant (set in the Sharjah Art Foundation) where head pastry chef Maria Jesusa D.V. Crisostomo showed us a fresh take on Middle Eastern-inspired desserts suitable for an iftar spread. All three eye-catching dishes fuse traditional Arabic ingredients with Japanese and European influences


 Carrot & Pistachio Cake With Pomegranate Syrup

Serves 8 | Preparation: 25 minutes  
Cooking: 1 hour

200g spinneysFOOD All-Purpose Flour | 1½ tsp baking powder | 60g grated carrots | 40g roasted pistachios, chopped | 200g spinneysFOOD White Sugar | 140g butter | 3 spinneysFOOD Organic Free-Range Eggs | 6 tbsp almond milk | Pomegranate seeds and chopped pistachios to garnish 

1 Preheat oven to 190°C, gas mark 5 and grease an 8-inch cake tin. 2 Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add grated carrots and roasted pistachios. 3 Put the sugar and butter into the mixing bowl. Add the eggs (one at a time) and combine. 4 Add the almond milk and mix on medium speed until smooth. 5 Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until no batter sticks to a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake.

For the Pomegranate Syrup

250ml pomegranate juice
125g spinneysFOOD White Sugar

1 Pour the pomegranate juice and sugar into a saucepan. 2 Simmer over medium heat until the mixture reaches a syrupy consistency. Cool completely before using. 

To Assemble
Trim top of the cake. 2 Brush cooled pomegranate syrup on top and side of the cake. 3 Sprinkle pomegranate seeds onto the centre of the cake and dust the side with chopped pistachios.


Matcha Panna Cotta With Anko Paste 

Serves 6 | Preparation: 30 minutes  | Setting: 1 hour

For the Anko Paste

1 can red kidney beans, strained
¼ cup water
3 tbsp spinneysFOOD White Sugar

1 Place all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes over medium heat. 2 Let the mixture cool down completely and pour into blender, purée until mixture is a smooth paste. You can pass the mixture through a mesh strainer for a finer paste. 3 Set aside.

For the Matcha Panna Cotta

500ml soy milk
3 tsp matcha powder
100g spinneysFOOD Dates, pitted
5 sheets of gelatin (or 1¼ tsp gelatin powder)
Pumpkin-seed oil 
spinneysFOOD Edible Flowers 

1 Place soy milk and matcha powder in a saucepan and mix well until all the matcha powder is dissolved. 2 Add the dates to the saucepan and simmer over a medium heat for 5 minutes or until the dates are soft and the flavour has infused with the soy milk. 3 While the mixture is simmering, soak the gelatin sheets in cold water until soft. Drain the excess water. Add the softened gelatin sheets to the soy milk and matcha mixture and continue simmering until all the gelatin has dissolved. Set aside to cool. 4 Pour the matcha mixture into a blender and purée. 5 Strain and carefully pour the mixture into 6 small ramekins or silicone molds. Chill overnight or until the panna cotta has set. 6 Place each panna cotta on a swirl of anko paste and garnish with pumpkin-seed oil and the edible flowers.


Organic Chia Pudding 

Serves 1  | Preparation: 20 minutes

100ml sugar-free coconut milk
40ml yoghurt
50g organic chia seeds
Mixed berries
10ml manuka honey
Desiccated coconut flakes

1 In a large bowl, mix the coconut milk, and yoghurt. Set aside. 2 Add chia seeds and mix well. Let the chia seeds absorb the coconut milk mixture for 10-15 minutes before placing into serving bowls or glasses. 3 Before serving, top with mixed berries, a drizzle of manuka honey and sprinkle of desiccated coconut flakes.