Anari dessert • Anarocrema


Anari dessert • Anarocrema

I remember, when I was a little girl, my grandmother would make anarocrema whilst the anari cheese was so so fresh it was still warm, literally straight from one of her beloved sheep.
Rosewater captures the very essence of Greece,and of course, I only use rosewater made by my dear uncle, Father Michael. Friends and family stand by to await the call to gather in the harvest of the rose petals at their brief moment of perfection during May. All our hard work pays off when you see the rosewater lined up bottle after bottle, ready to use. It adds a unique flavour to our very sweet desserts and sweetmeats. So gentle, it is also used as a natural toner dabbed directly onto the skin, or a teaspoonful is said to be good for calming the nerves and settling the stomach. We Greek mother also use it to soothe away sleepy, tearful babies eyes. And if I close my eyes and my uncle walks past I know it’s him as that heavenly scent of garden roses envelops his presence. My very beautiful and serenely calm cousin Hara shared with me her favourite Cypriot dessert. She is proof in the pudding of the benefits of rosewater..!

Serves 8

5 sheets of filo pastry
1 kg of unsalted anari cheese,
you can substitute with ricotta
a good half glass (125g) of caster
2 tsp of ground cinnamon
¼ glass or 4tbsp of rosewater
1 litre of fresh double cream
olive oil to brush
2 tbsp of clear honey
½ glass (50g) of chopped walnuts

Cut the 5 sheets of pastry in half so now 10 sheets. Place each stack side by side on a baking tray brushing between each sheet with some oil. Bake in a preheated oven 150°C/Gas 2 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool then crush into flakes.
Now place the anari cheese in a bowl, breaking down with a fork. Add the sugar, cinnamon, rosewater and finally the cream. Beat ideally with a hand whisk until the mixture is smooth and starts to thicken. Cover the bowl and pop in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to firm up.
If you have a traditional trifle dish that is perfect, you need a pretty glass bowl to assemble the dessert. First scatter half the filo into the base of the dish then dollop in the cream mixture topped by the remaining filo flakes.Scatter the walnuts on top, drizzle with honey and finish with a dusting of ground cinnamon.

Photo: Vanessa Courtier

By Tonia Buxton