At times, I wonder why life must be routine. From the waking up in the morning to prayers to shower to struggling with the lunch packs to sending off Rasha to pushing off myself to slog in the traffic to work to back to traffic to home to the unending list of home chores… Life goes on the same fashion, all the time. There is nothing exciting. It just seems to go with the flow. Sometimes I feel frustrated – why does all the days have to be same? Yes, surprises are exciting – the man of the house calling you and telling you not to cook anything and going for dinner outside, a sudden dropping in of relatives with pots of food, an impromptu drive… All gives us a rush of happiness. But what would happen it is a bad turn of matters? It can be a sudden job loss, a loss of a dear one, a personal tragedy of any kind… Our routine would go for a toss. Forget about the routine, maybe our life would go for a toss. When I think it that way, I feel that it is best for our routine. At least there are no shocks in between and life is calm… 🙂
Umm Ali happens to be my favorite Arab dessert, hands on. I have already raved about my craze in my intial post about this dessert. There is nothing fancy going into this dessert but the combination of the puff pastry with a rich milky cream and loads of nuts and dry fruits just takes your imagination away. Each time I go for a buffet, I have a very big serving of Umm Ali and that too, nice and warm! Now, I guess I have to try and “veganize” this dish to enjoy it and in case it turns out well, will post it here for all of you. 😉 Normally puff pasty is baked till crisp and used as the base, but it is not necessary that way. You can use stale bread or croissants to create this dish and it tastes equally amazing. In fact, I would rate this as “quick fix Umm Ali” since you just need to use all that you have available and you have your dessert ready in very little time. Hoping on to the recipe…
Umm Ali ~ Version #2
- 8 slices stale bread/ croissants
- 250 ml cooking cream
- 250 ml milk
- 4 tbsp sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp orange blossom water
- 1 tsp rose water
- 2 tbsp pistachios
- 2 tbsp walnuts
- 2 tbsp almonds
- 2 tbsp cashewnuts
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 2 tbsp raisins
- 3 tbsp coconut
- Combine the cream, milk, sugar, salt and cinnamon powder and keep on low flame, mixing till warm and done. Add in the flavoring waters and set aside.
- Lightly toast all the nuts on low flame. Allow to cool. Pound them or chop them coarsely.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
- Tear the bread or croissant into a baking pan and add the nuts, raisins and coconut. Mix well. Pour the milk mixture over it and let it sit for 10 minutes. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes till the top is golden brown.
- Serve warm as is or if you like, with a whipped cream topping...