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Monday, January 19, 2015

Umm Ali


Umm Ali is one of the cherished desserts in the Middle East, that was supposedly originated in Egypt. This delicious bread pudding uses puff pastry or phyllo pastry or some stale bread, milk, nuts and coconut. One can use / omit whatever nuts they prefer in this recipe. The creamy bread pudding, crunchy nuts and sweetened cream - milk base, make this an irresistible treat. I came across this lighter version using croissants at Nestle website and had prepared it some time back, scaling down the ingredients to serve two. 

Umm Ali literally means mother of Ali and I came across a couple of legendary stories behind the origin of this delicious dessert. One refers to a woman named, Umm Ali who happened to be the first wife of a Sultan named Aybek. His second wife Shajar al-Durr prevented him from seeing his first wife and son and the king happily obliged. However when he got ready to marry another woman, the second wife got so jealous and raving mad that she killed him and proved that he died in his sleep. The first wife who already had a dispute with Umm Ali, got her brutally killed by Shajar's own servants. And then, she celebrated her victory by preparing this pudding and distributing it among the people of the land.

The second one, a less violent version is that it was invented during the reign of Ottoman Turks. A sultan who was on a hunting trip got hungry and stopped by a small village. Umm Ali, the best cook of the village, filled a pan with the ingredients she had - dried wheat flakes (probably leftovers from some stale bread), nuts, sultanas and coconut. She covered it with milk and sugar, put in the community oven and cooked something akin to this pudding.
 
Ingredients for 2 servings:
3 croissants (I used small size ones.)
1 cup water
1/4 cup condensed milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup whipped cream
1 tbsp. each - coconut, pistachios, almonds and raisins

Method:
* Preheat the oven to 200 deg C / 400 deg F.
* Combine croissant pieces, coconut, pistachio, almonds and raisins in a ovenproof dish. Or divide the mixture among 2 oven proof bowls if you are planning to serve two, individually. 
* Bring condensed milk, water and vanilla to a boil in a sauce pan. Pour it over the croissant mixture and set it aside for five minutes or until the croissant mixture absorbs the maximum of the liquid.
* Place whipping cream in a piping bag and pipe the cream over the mixture. (I didn't use a piping bag and just spooned the cream into the bowls.)

* Place the baking dish in the preheated oven using the grilling part of the oven and grill for 5 minutes or until the cream topping is golden in color. (I turned off the oven and forgot to remove the bowls immediately and hence the darker hue of the cream.)
* Serve it immediately.
This goes to BM #48 for under "1 Cuisine - 3 Dishes" - Arabian Cuisine theme. Check here to see what my fellow marathoners are cooking during Blogging Marath on #48.

Comments

18 comments:

vaishali sabnani said...

Drooling Suma..just something that I would love to try and eat it too..It looks fantastic. Rich and super delicious.

Kalyani said...

Looks decadent. I had made a low fat version for abc world marathon and yes we all loved it a lot !!

Padmajha PJ said...

What a sinfully delicious dessert! I wanted to make this for another event but changed it . Now your pics are tempting me to try it out! Good one Suma...

Kurinji said...

rich and yummy dish...

Srivalli said...

Suma, didn't realize that this dish would be simple to do, I had this bookmarked for our international BM, didn't do it..your pictures are surely so tempting..and nice history as well..

Varadas Kitchen said...

I almost made this back in April of last year but finally went with something else. This is a nice variation.

Jayanthi said...

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned! Nice story and wonderful recipe. The pictures have come out so well too!

Sarita said...

This is mouthwatering ! Would love to try soon.

Niloufer Riyaz said...

My all time fav dear! Umm Ali looks delicious

Priya Suresh said...

Absolutely a delicious and irresistible Umm ali, very tempting pictures.

Sapana Behl said...

Wow very nice presentation ,looks so delicious . Bookmarked

Pavani N said...

What a tempting dessert and thank you for sharing the stories associated with the dish.

Srividhya said...

Amazing clicks

sneha datar said...

An awesome dish taste very good.

Jayanthi Sindhiya said...

A very amazing dessert....Looks absolutely fantastic!

Sandhya Ramakrishnan said...

This is just so delicious! The buttery croissant with the condensed milk....absolutely fantastic! Bookmarking the recipe :)

Sadaf Afshan said...

Loved reading the stories behind this dish. Delicious recipe too.

Harini-Jaya R said...

This is so sinful. Like all the others I also almost made it for the Mega marathon.