Petitim Be’Halav (Flakes in Milk)

One of my very favourite memories from my childhood kitchen is Pettitim Be’halav.

Petitim (meaning ‘flakes’) are a rice like toasted pasta that was invented in the 1950’s, during the austerity period in Israel when rice was scarce, and immediately become a beloved product. In the years to come ptitim took many shapes and sizes, and a multiple of recipes were published with varied versions on how to make them, but whatever size shape or sauce they come in, they always remained, to this day, one of the most beloved dishes in Israeli kitchen*.

This recipe is for my own very favourite version – ‘flakes in milk’, kind of rice pudding but not quite, they are delightfully creamy, fragrant and absolutely delicious, this dish is every kid’s favourite. My sisters and I loved it grown up and they still make it for their kids today who loves it just as much.

There are numerous versions out there for this dish as every mom had her own recipe to match her own family palate. This one is mine, and it makes the most creamy, sweet and indulgently delicious ptitim in no time at all.

* Ptitim can be found today all over the world as ‘giant couscous’ or ‘pearl couscous’


15 gram soft butter
1 cup ptitim or pearl couscous (I used flower shape ptitim)
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup water
½ tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla
Pinch salt
½ tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp cold milk (or single cream)

For Topping:
1 ½ cups blueberries
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour
¼ tsp lemon juice


Bring the milk and water to a near boil, mix in sugar, vanilla & salt, and set aside.

Fry the ptitim (or couscous) in butter until golden and smells like nuts, add the water-milk mixture and bring to a gentle boil.
Turn the heat low and leave to simmer gently, half covered, for another 5 minutes, mixing occasionally.
Remove lid and cook for another two minutes, constantly mixing. Turn the heat off, cover the pot, and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
For Topping:
Melt cornflour in 1 tbsp boiling water.
In a pot mix blueberries and sugar and bring to a boil.
Add the lemon and the melted cornflour and let simmer until the fruit start to break down.
Add the cinnamon and the cold milk/cream to the ptitim pot, mix well. Serve in a bowl topped with the blueberries sauce.


Ptitim can be substituted for giant couscous, but also for Orzo pasta or rice, just adjust the liquid content according to the instructions on the package.

Mix crushed nuts are great topping too.

If to thick or warm – add more cold milk \ cream.

For a more tangy flavour – try adding lemon juice and a pinch of ginger.