Umm Ali is one of Egypt’s most famous dessert. And my love affair with Umm Ali, began not in Egypt (still on my Travel Bucket List), but rather in Dubai. The 1st time I tried this Rich and Creamy Dessert, some 6-7 years ago while on a Dhow Dinner Cruise on the Dubai Creek, I was Bowled Over. I have since enjoyed this dessert at various Middle Eastern Restaurants in Bahrain and other countries.
Peculiar Name you would say for a dessert, as “Umm Ali” Literally means “Mother of Ali” in Arabic. Now there are a couple of versions of how this dessert got its name.
The 1st rather Un-savoury Legend has it that Umm Ali was the first wife of the Sultan Ezz El Din Aybek. When the sultan died, his second wife had a dispute with Umm Ali over whose son would be the successor to the Sultan. Hatching a plan to kill the second wife, it is believed that Umm Ali made this dessert and distributed it among the people of the land, to celebrate her death .
This Second version is what I rather prefer, Legend has it that a sultan started to feel peckish during a hunting trip on the Nile delta and had stopped for food at a poor village along the way. Umm ‘Ali, being the best among the local cooks, was called upon to prepare her best dish. She filled a large pan with the little she had – scrapings of stale wheat flakes with bits of nuts and put it in the oven together with milk and sugar. When the Sultan asked about the dessert, and was told it was an Umm ‘Ali preparation, he thought the name of the dish was just that…Umm Ali….And I guess that is how the name stuck ?. So whichever of the above legends you take a liking too, I believe this dessert will also bowl you over.
My version of Umm Ali is simple to prepare, a dessert that is best enjoyed either warm(in colder weather) OR perfect served cold as well (In Summer). To me, Umm Ali is a marriage between two wonderfully different flavours of desserts, that is, the good old creaminess of a “bread pudding” and a sweet/nutty combination of a “Baklava”.
Do give this one a try, It has become my Family Favourite, for anytime of the year. As is customary to share something sweet on receiving good tidings, what better time to share this recipe, than right now. Today marked the beginning of Ramadan, The 9th month on the Islamic Calendar, a month in which Muslims throughout the World, fast from dawn till sunset and refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking, and engaging in sexual relations. Spiritual rewards (thawab) for fasting are also believed to be multiplied within the month of Ramadan. Fasting for Muslims during Ramadan typically includes the increased offering of salat (prayers) and recitation of the Quran. Muslims are also instructed to refrain from sinful behavior that may negate the reward of fasting, such as false speech (insulting, backbiting, cursing, lying, etc.) and fighting. Ramadan is a month that brings much Blessings to an Individual and their Homes.
To all my Muslim Friends, Ramadan Mubarak to you and your loved ones, May Allah accept all our fasts and Prayers, In Sha Allah, Ameen.
Happy Dessert Making
Umm Ali (Croissant Pudding)
Author : Foodeva Marsay
3 Large OR 4 Mini Butter Croissants
4 Cups Milk ( 1 litre)
3/4 Cup Cream ( Either Dessert Cream OR Thick Fresh Cream)
1/2 Cup Condensed Milk (Or to Taste)
2 Tablespoon Rose Water
1 teaspoon Cardamom Powder
2-3 Tablespoons of Flaked Almonds, Sultanas, Pistachios Sliced, Each
~ Preheat Oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and prepare a baking sheet covered in Tin Foil onto which to place the casserole.
~ Lightly grease a small to medium sized Rectangular Casserole with butter
~ Warm the Milk, Cream, Condensed Milk, Rose water and Cardamom Powder on a medium heat, no need to boil it.
~ Break the croissants into bite sized pieces, and layer this into the casserole, it is fine if it crumbles
~ Pour 1 and 1/2 cups of the warmed liquid, over the croissants, and scatter the dish with Sultanas, Flaked Almonds and Pistachios.
~ Carefully pour the rest of the Warmed Liquid all over the the dish.
~ Place the Casserole onto the prepared Baking Sheet, and bake in oven on the centre rack, for approximately 20-30 minutes, or Until Lightly golden on top.
~ Take care note to over bake the dish, as it will dry out. After removing from the oven , allow the dish to cool for 5 minutes, before serving into small dessert dishes.
~ Best Enjoyed warm (OR at Room Temperature), with a sprinkle of Chopped Pistachio Nuts
*KINDLY SHARE MY RECIPE AS POSTED, ©www.marriamsayed.com*
*NOTES BY FOODEVA MARSAY*
~ This dessert is perfect for excess Croissants you may have, Keep them in the fridge/freezer, bring back to room temperature and use as stated in recipe.
~ You may add more Sultanas, Flaked Almonds and Pistachios, to your liking.
~ I Use The Tin Foil onto a Baking Sheet, to help catch any spills that may occur from the gently bubbling liquid while in the oven, “No Need to cry over Spilled Milk ;-)”