On the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr, this is a popular and delicious Egyptian pastry called Oum Ali.
Oum is the word for mother in Arabic.
It is a Middle-Eastern bread pudding, made with phyllo dough or rakakat pastry sheets.
The neighborhood Middle-Eastern store had a few boxes of ROKAK, these pastry sheets imported from Egypt which I used (rokak is an adjective meaning extra-thin).
Butter puff pastry, ready-made croissants, phyllo dough, even corn flakes!
This pudding is creamy, doughy, sweet, nutty, and super-easy to make!
Serve it for breakfast, or as a dessert. NO ONE will turn it down.
Story behind this dessert: Who was Oum Ali?
In Arab countries, it is customary to call a person as “Father of …” and then the name of the eldest son. Omm Ali was the wife of a ruler from the Ayyubid dynasty. Her rival Shagaret El Dorr (Tree of Pearls) was the second wife of that ruler. After his death, Shagaret El Dorr arranged for Om Ali to be murdered by her servants, and to celebrate, she distributed bread with milk and honey.
Shagaret El Dorr ruled Egypt for some time in the name of her husband, and would later die in a conspiracy too.
This became a dish known as Om Ali.
From: Egyptian cuisine
INGREDIENTS: 6 servings
- 10 sheets of phyllo dough (half a package), or half a box of rokak sheets, or 6 butter croissants or 3 cups of corn flakes.
- 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted in the microwave (or clarified if you have time)
- 2 cups of assorted nuts, toasted in a 300F oven for 10 minutes or so (I used hazelnuts, pistachios and almonds)
- 3/4 cup of golden raisins
- 2 cups of whipping cream or whole milk or a mixture of both
- 2 eggs, beaten slightly with a fork
- 6 tablespoons (1/2 cup) of maple syrup or brown sugar
- A pinch of cinnamon
- If using phyllo sheets or the rokak, first brush them lightly with melted butter and toast in a 300F oven for 10 minutes until caramel-colored. Set aside to cool a few minutes, then break up the sheets and place in individual ramequins or one large serving dish.
- Toast the nuts in the 300F oven for 10 minutes; peel the hazelnuts, and chop the nuts and combine with the golden raisins in a bowl.
- Heat the milk and cream with the maple syrup or sugar and when the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat and cool a few minutes, then add the cinnamon and beaten eggs and whisk to combine. Add the milk mixture to the nuts and raisins and ladle over the phyllo bits (or rokak or other)
- Bake in a 350F oven for about 15 minutes until puffed up and golden; cool and seve.
NOTE: If using butter croissants, cut in small pieces and place at the bottom of the ramequins or serving dish.
If using puff pastry, roll out thinly and bake in a 375F oven till golden-brown and crispy. Break off into little pieces.
If using corn flakes, just place at the bottom of each dish.
NOTE: You can make this traditional recipe without adding eggs; it will be creamier, more soupy and not custardy.