Ramadan is a period of worship and giving – it’s a holy month where practicing Muslims around the globe fast from dawn to sunset each day. It’s a period of spiritual discipline, increased charity and generosity, and intense study of the Quran. The holiest month of the Islamic calendar, during Ramadan, Muslims commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Mohammed according to Islamic belief. Ramadan is rooted in culture, faith and history and is marked with vibrant celebrations, along with wonderful food and flavours, especially in the form of desserts. From rich date puddings to pistachio flavoured cakes, there is no shortage of Ramadan dessert recipes that are absolutely delicious.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is a period of fasting and spiritual growth, and is one of the five pillars of Islam. It’s the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is the most sacred month of the year for Muslims. During Ramadan, Muslims fast, abstain from pleasures and pray to become closer to God. It’s also a time when families gather and celebrate.
Observant Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, and fasting isn’t only abstaining from food and drink. It’s also abstaining from smoking, taking oral medications, and engaging in sexual activities, as well as gossip, fighting and lying.
Food is a major part of Ramadan, with traditional dishes highlighted, especially traditional desserts. Desserts are considered the most important part of the fast-breaking meal and include treats such as rice pudding, baklava and qatayef.
5 Ramadan Traditions
1. Sawm (Fasting)
Fasting is the fourth of the five pillars of Islam. During Ramadan, able-bodied Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. The month of fasting represents a period of spiritual discipline and purification. Sawm can be invalidated by eating or drinking at the wrong time, but the lost day can be made up with an extra day of fasting. Volunteering, performing righteous work or feeding the poor can be substituted for fasting if necessary. Pregnant or nursing women, children, the old, the weak, and the ill are exempt from the requirement of fasting, as is anyone who’s travelling a long distance.
After the sun fully sets at the end of each day, observant Muslims gather in their homes or mosques to break their fast with a meal called ifṭār that is often shared with friends and extended family. The meal starts with dates or apricots and water or sweetened milk, followed by prayers and then ifṭār, which is a rich meal that concludes with Ramadan desserts.
Prayer is a fundamental part of observing Ramadan. Prayers known as Tarawih are held each night after ifṭār. Nawafil are additional prayers Muslims can offer at any time of the day. During Ramadan, Muslims participate in communal prayer at their local mosque, but prayer can also be done at home. Praying during Ramadan brings hope for rewards and achievements and brings you closer to God.
4. Eid al-Fitr
At the end of Ramadan, a three-day spiritual celebration known as Eid al-Fitr occurs, where Muslims rejoice in the breaking of the fast. During the three days, Muslims attend prayers in the morning, and then visit family, friends, neighbours, the sick and elderly. Feasts and small gifts are shared, and everyone enjoys traditional foods.
5. Zakat (Charity)
During Ramdan, Muslims focus their attention on giving charity, known as Zakat. Muslims are reminded to be generous and increase their charitable activities. Donations are usually focused on those suffering poverty and hunger. Zakat is an integral part of the Muslim faith and, like fasting, is one of the five pillars of Islam.
50 Ramadan Dessert Recipes
1. Classic Qatayef with Nuts | Cleobuttera
2. Banana Dates Cutlets | Cooking with Thas
3. Lebanese Rice Pudding | Cooking with Mima
4. Umm Ali (Egyptian Sweet Pastry Dessert) | The Wanderlust Kitchen
5. Kunafeh (Middle Eastern Cheese Pastry) | Lins Food
6. Zalabya (3 Ways) | Cleobuttera
7. Basbousa (Semolina Cake) | Tasting Table
8. Pistachio, Almond, Lemon and Rose Baklava | BBD Good Food Middle East
9. Halawet el Jibn (Sweet Cheese Rolls) | Sweet Pillar Food
10. Ramadan Honey Date Pudding | Group Recipes
11. Date Walnut Tart | Cleobuttera
12. Classic Baklava | Fine Cooking
13. Lebanese Bread Pudding | Archana’s Kitchen
14. Kahk (Eid Cookies) with Pistachios and Honey | Amira’s Pantry
16. Nutella Hazelnut Baklava Pie | Cleobuttera
17. Qatayef Asafiri | Amira’s Pantry
18. Ghorayeba (Arab Shortbread Cookies) | The Big Sweet Tooth
19. Layali Lubnan | Cookin’ with Mima
20. Easy Pistachio Chocolate Baklava | Half Baked Harvest
21. Grandma’s Balah El Sham (Fluted Fritters) | Cleobuttera
22. Feteer Meshaltet | Amira’s Pantry
23. Maamoul | 196 Flavors
24. Halva 5 Ways | Epicurious
25. The Tastiest Turkish Delight | A Spicy Perspective
26. Egyptian Pumpkin Pie | Food
27. Stuffed Medjool Dates | A Couple Cooks
28. Mushabbak (Fried Fritters) | Mediterranean Eatz
29. Vermicelli Pudding | Vegan Richa
30. Bastani (Persian Rose Water, Saffron and Pistachio Ice Cream) | Food
31. Rose Water Gelees | Punchfork
32. Pumpkin Frangipane Tart | Amira’s Pantry
33. Malai Kulfi | Cook with Manal
34. Rose Petal Pistachio Ice Cream | Just a Pinch
35. Homemade Lebanese Kanafa | Feel Good Foodie
36. Awamat (Lebanese Crisp Doughnut Balls) | The Spruce Eats
37. Saniora’s Palace Bread | Taste
38. Easy Middle Eastern Rice Pudding | The Mediterranean Dish
39. Basbousa (Coconut Yogurt Semolina Cake) | Gimme Delicious
40. Mozzarella Cheese Kanafa | Cleobuttera
41. Mahalabia (Middle Eastern Milk Pudding) | Hungry Paprikas
42. Orange Honey Cake with Pistachios | Punch Fork
43. Mabrousheh | Fufu’s Kitchen
44. Middle Eastern Sweet Cheese Pastry | Redpath Sugar
45. Rose Mehalabya | Cleobuttera
46. Pistachio and White Chocolate Kataifi Mousse Cake | Delicious
47. Orange Cranberry Rolls | Chocolate and Chai
48. Qatayef with Cream | ME Recipes
49. Sutlac (Turkish Rice Pudding) | Unicorns in the Kitchen
50. Persian Bamieh with Saffron and Rose Water Syrup | Feed Feed
Food and flavours are an integral part of Ramadan and these delicious dessert recipes are the perfect way to break the fast.
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