Malban (Palestinian grape fruit roll ups)

This recipe has been in my blog’s drafts for a year!

It was actually one of my contributions to the very first issue of darna magazine and ever since then I have been meaning to post it here with more details and step by step instructions but somehow every time I plan on publishing it, something comes up and I never hit that publish button.

I posted a teaser on facebook, a couple of weeks ago and promised that I will post the recipe soon but at the time I was working on another promise that I had made to my son who turned 7 on June 2nd.

I promised him that I would make his birthday cake. His heart was set on a Kung Fu Panda cake, a 3D Po cake to be specific.

It’s been 3 years since I last made a fondant decorated cake ! and I have never made a 3D cake but a promise is a promise and I never break the promises I make to my kids.

A couple of weeks of planning and “researching” 3D cakes, drawing sketches,watching youtube videos, making templates, panicking, trying to talk my son out of a 3 D cake, resulted in this

Ibrahim 7.jpg

I know that it’s not perfect but I have to say that I am proud of it and my son LOVED it! The look on his face when he was blowing out the candles was worth every minute that went into making this cake 🙂


Now, it’s time to fulfill another promise, post the malban recipe 🙂

Malban is a traditional form of fruit leather prepared late in the summer. It was a way of preserving summer grapes to enjoy them in the winter months. It is one of the signature desserts of the city of AL Khalil (Hebron) in Palestine which is famous for its grapes and the treats they make out of grapes.

Unlike regular fruit leather which is basically dehydrated fruit purée, malban is a form of dehydrated pudding. The pudding is called Khabeesa and it is prepared by mixing grape juice with Semolina and a variety of nuts and seeds. The pudding is then dehydrated and turned into sheets of Malban . It is a lovely combination of chewy fruit leather, with bursts of crunchy nuttiness from the seeds and nuts.

I like to prepare Malban as a treat for the kids. They love taking it in their lunch boxes. I usually cut it into thin strips, roll it and wrap it with colorful wrappers . That way I can also give it away as an elegant homemade gift

Malban chef in disguise.jpg


•2 liters grape juice

•1 cup semolina

•1 tablespoon anise seeds (optional)

•1 tablespoon pine nuts

•1 tablespoon sesame seeds


1. place all the ingredients in a pot and cook over medium heat while continuously stirring until the mix thickens

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat

2. Pour and spread the mixture on the baking sheet  so that it is no more than 0.5 cm in thickness


3. Bake in 160 C oven for 1 hour or until the fruit becomes dry to the touch


Note: ovens vary, it may take more or less time to dehydrate the malban in your oven.

4. Allow to cool,peel off the parchment, flip . If the underside is too wet,


heat your oven to 180C, turn it off then place the malban on a parchment lined baking sheet and place it in the oven, close the door and leave it in there until the oven cools down completely

Cut into strips, roll and wrap in decorated wax paper

malban background 1.jpg


I don’t usually add sugar to the malban because I find grape juice sweet enough. Before dehydrating the pudding, taste it and adjust the sweetness to your liking by adding sugar or any other sweetener that you like

Malban is traditionally made from white or green grapes. In the step by step pictures you see the color of the malban made from white grapes  while the malban in the main post image was made using red grape juice. I like using red because I love the deep color of the end product but both varieties taste heavenly

If you live in a hot place you can air dry the malban. Spread it on a sheet of parchment and leave it in a well ventilated area, under direct sunlight for 4-6 days