Um Ali translates to "The Mother of Ali", I haven't the slightest idea on how this name came to be and where it's origins are from. But the dish is so traditional and you wont find any Arab who will call this by a different name. So Um Ali it is :)
It is basically some sort of flaky pastry soaked in sweetened milk and cream topped with nuts. Kind of a Middle Eastern version of the bread pudding.
For this dish we need some sort of flaky pastry. Usually it is made with puff pastry or in some cases croissant is used. Today I will be making it with a local product (from Jordina: Italian Biscotti) that is essentially ready baked puff pastry. It saves time and effort. For those who can't find this use either croissants or bake a few sheets of puff pastry.
We need milk and cream, whole milk of coarse, this is not the recipe where you want to count calories.
Some people add raisins and others don't, if you like them add them if you don't skip. For the nuts walnuts, almonds and pistachios are all good, today I added almonds in the recipe and garnished with ground pistachios.
- 1 pack Jordina Italian Biscotti / 400 grams puff pastry
- 1 liter whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-2 cups cream
- 1-2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup almond slices
- 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
- Sprinkle of cinnamon
*If you're using puff pastry, you need to bake the puffs until they are golden in color and allow them to cool. If you can find Jordinas Biscottis this step is done for you.
*In your oven dish break the puffs slightly and spread them in the dish. Spread the raisins on them if you are using any.
*In a pan heat the milk with the sugar and vanilla. Once it heats add the orange blossom water.
*Pour the milk over the puff pastry in the oven dish, make sure to soak all the pieces.
*Slowly pour the cream over the milk and cover it all. Add the butter pieces to the top. Sprinkle some cinnamon (optional but recommended)
*Spread the almonds on top of the cream. You can add them in with the milk, but I prefer adding them on top, this way they will gain some color and crunch.
*Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, it doesn't take long, only for the puffs to soak the milk and cream. But you do need to place it under the broiler for a couple of minutes to gain the gorgeous color and for the surface to crisp up slightly.
*Garnish with chopped pistachios or any other nut you want. Serve immediately and enjoy!