Fancy adding Umm Ali, a favourite dessert during Ramadan, to your own table? Try this recipe from Tamer Shawki, the executive sous chef at Conrad Dubai.
500g croissant or baked puff pastry
15g pistachios, coarsely chopped
15g toasted almond, coarsely chopped
15g golden raisins
20g desiccated coconut
25g dates, pits removed, cut into small pieces
1 litre fresh milk
100g granulated sugar
250g whipping cream, (whipped to medium peaks)
Preheat the oven’s broiler to 200°C. In an oven-safe baking dish (see note below), break apart ¾ of the croissant or baked puff pastry and arrange in layers. Set remaining ¼ pastry aside. Add the pistachios, almonds, raisins, desiccated coconut and dates on top of the pastry. Next, in a medium saucepan, stir milk, sugar and rosewater over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then bring to a boil. Pour the boiling milk mixture over the pastry in the baking dish. Use the reserved ¼ pastry to top the surface of the milk-soaked pastry (this will create an extra crunchy topping). Whip the cream until it forms medium peaks. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the pastry. Place the dish under the oven’s broiler until bubbling around the edges and the top turns golden brown – about 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on it as it might brown in less time. Serve immediately.
Use a two-quart (or 9 inch by 13 inch) baking dish. You can also use a shallower, larger rectangular dish. The larger surface area of the shallow dish allows for more browning and crunch on top, ensuring crispy, caramelised bites with every mouthful.