I get asked quite a bit by my readers why I do not have an Umm Ali recipe. Honestly it’s not a recipe that appeals to my husband nor me so I have never cared to make it. My husband bought me some new cookbooks (yes, I am obsessed) for Eid and one of the books that I bought was Sweets of Arabia by Osama El Sayed. He had a recipe for Umm Ali that looked simply amazing. Instead of using the traditional phyllo in the recipe he has used croissants. Umm Ali is a bread pudding type dessert after all so this really turns the recipe around. My house smelled heavenly while it was cooking and I could not wait to dig in. Wow what a difference this recipe makes compared to the other ones that I have tried.
6 plain croissants
1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup raisins
1 tablespoon melted, butter
3 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream (or already whipped cream)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pistachios, walnuts or almonds, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Tear croissants into chunks and place into a large bowl. Add almonds, walnuts, coconut, raisins and butter, toss to mix.
2. In a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat add milk. Bring to a boil. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Remove from heat.
3. Pour a little of the milk into a baking dish. Scatter half the croissant mixture into the dish, then pour in half of the milk. Add the remaining croissant mixture, spread evenly and add remaining milk on top.
4. Whip cream to soft peak and spread over top. Bake for 20 minutes, then place under broiler for about 5 minutes or until golden. Garnish with chopped nuts and serve hot.
Yields: 6-8 servings