Gum mastic is the aromatic resin collected from wild pistachio trees in Greece, Turkey, and neighboring areas. It is used in many Moroccan pastries including dessert brewats.
The Turkish use it in their famous muhallebi pudding as do the Egyptians sometimes in muhallabia. I first made my pudding muhallebi-style with cornstarch and it didn’t quite rock my socks so I remade the recipe, the way I like to make pudding, using eggs.
Gum mastic can be an acquired taste especially if you’ve never had it before. It is sweet, somewhat musky with a hint of anise flavor. It is quite intense and usually used in small quantities so it doesn’t overpower food. In Arabic, it is called mestikah or meska (horra), which literally means gum and is perfectly chewable as a substitute for chewing gum.
I love gum mastic. I like to hold it in my hands like jewels, admire it like diamonds. I like to smell it. It is quite unique. If you don’t like it the first time, give it a second chance. It will grow on you.
Gum Mastic Pudding
- 1 tablespoon gum mastic
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 egg yolks
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Place four ramekins or jars in a baking pan.
Step 2: Place the mastic in a cheesecloth and tie the end to make a bag. Place the cream, milk and mastic bag in a medium saucepan over medium heat and let simmer for about 10minutes. Discard the mastic. Stir in the sugar, honey, and salt.
Step 3: Whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl. Slowly add the cream and milk mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve.
Step 4: Divide the mixture among the ramekins. Fill the baking pan with hot water until it comes halfway up the ramekins.
Step 5: Bake for 50-60 minutes. Take the ramekins out of the baking pan and cool at room temperature. Cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Step 6: Sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.