Harisseh – Sweet Dessert with Farina هريسة

If there is one dessert that everyone had at home amongst Palestinians is harriseh. It is a very popular dessert in Palestine. It is an everyday easy to make recipe. You can have it on all different occasions, formal and casual ones.

There are so many recipes out there, they are all very similar with some slight differences. The main two ingredients in harisseh that no one would argue about is yogurt and farina. There are hardly -if I may say- any American desert that I know of that uses farina but this ingredient is very popular in our dessert section. It is used with a few other desert dishes in Palestine. Today I will be using it with harisseh and in the future, I will have other recipes that I will share with you.

I often make this dish either when I have people over or if I’m invited to a friends’ house. Everyone loves it no mistake.

I never really used milk with my recipe in the past, and most of the recipes out there are made with just yogurt. Then my sister convinced me to use milk in addition to yogurt. I resisted for a while thinking it’ll be too liquidy and I wasn’t sure how it’s going to turn out. Until I finally tried it and it turned out really, really good.

Harisseh is still baking in my oven and I can’t resist the aroma all over my kitchen. Smells so delicious!

If you’re wondering where to get farina, it’s available at any Mediterranean grocery store. And if you live anywhere in California, there are many of those around. I also like to use finely shredded coconut. which also available at most Mediterranean grocery stores. The shredded ones that are available at any regular market may be thicker than the one I use, I don’t think it’ll make a big difference. But that’s just my preference.

After greasing the pan, I usually like to grease it with Tahini (Sesame oil), any other greasing method works just fine. I like to use this Pyrex baking dish; this one I’m using today is 12”x7.5”.  any larger size would be fine but it may turn slightly thinner.

After mixing all ingredients together I spread it in the pan and garnish it with almonds or walnuts whichever I have available. Either one turns out good with harisseh.

I usually like to make the sugar syrup earlier. One of either should be hot and the other cold. So the sugar syrup is faster to cool off.

After heating the oven I bake it on 350 degrees for about half an hour, from the glass Pyrex I can tell the bottom starts to turn into brownish. I take it out and spread some butter on the top, then place it back in the oven for 10-15 minutes. The top starts turning brown, and if it’s still not fully brown turn off the oven and place the baking dish under the broiler for few minutes depending on how strong your broiler is. I keep standing there to prevent it from burning, 2-3 minuts -that all it needs.

Once Harisseh is out of the oven I pour the sugar syrup all over the baked dish, it may take few minutes for the hariseh to absorb sugar syrup.

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Harisseh – Sweet Dessert with Farina هريسة

  • Author: Wafa Shami




  • 1 &1/4 cup farina
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 cup milk
  • lemon zest (one lemon-optional)
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter
  • Almonds or walnut for garnish

Sugar water

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon squeezed
  • lemon zest



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease pan
  3. Mix all ingredients together
  4. Pour the entire mix and spread it in the pan
  5. Garnish with almonds or walnuts
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, then spread butter on top. Place it back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes
  7. Place broiler on for 2-3 minutes for more of golden brownish color
  8. Pour room temperature sugar syrup into the hot harisseh once taken out of the oven
  9. Cut into squares.

Sugar water

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat pour the water into the sugar and keep stirring until sugar is melting
  2. Once it starts boiling add lemon juice and lemon zest
  3. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes and set aside to cook off

4 Comment
Valarie October 20, 2018

Looks awesome. I’m sorry if I missed how much shredded coconut to add. Thank you.

Christine October 6, 2018

Wafa- This looks delicious. I will make it with your additional tips since I make it a little differently. Thanks for sharing!

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