January 8, 2016
With foods from around the world working into our global discussion about food, I was thinking that today we should take a look at a traditional Lebanese dessert that is sure to please the entire family, and open a few new doors into a food culture that is foreign to many of us. Omali literally translates to “Ali’s mother”. So let’s take a look at what Ali’s mother has in store for us with this simple, yet delicious, Lebanese dessert.
Place the croissants or puff pastry, onto a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet into an oven that is preheated to 400 degrees. Let the bread stay in the oven until it is a nice golden brown. Be careful not to overcook, because you will not want to have burnt bread as part of this sweet and delicious recipe.
Once the bread is a nice golden brown, take it out of the over and let cool. Once cool, break the bread up into small pieces. Using your hands is the best way to accomplish this, since everyone loves playing with their food, and cooking should be a tactile experience.
Place a handful of the bread into an oven safe serving dish. Be sure to fill the dish about halfway, making sure to leave room for the remaining ingredients.
Sprinkle in a handful, or so, of the pine nuts on top of the pieces of bread. If you are allergic to pine nuts, go ahead and skip this step. Now add in some raisins, how ever many you would prefer. Much like the rest of the ingredients we are adding to the top, the quantity will depend on personal preference. Add the ground pistachio. Once again, however much you would prefer. If you do not like the taste of pistachios, you can substitute almonds, or any other kind of nut that you would prefer. Just ground the nuts up like you did the pistachios.
In a medium size bowl, add your cup of milk, ½ cup of sugar, and a capful of the orange blossom water. If you would like to make this an even more, decadent dessert, substitute half and half, or heavy whipping cream, for the milk. Also, if you do not like the taste of orange blossom water, you can replace it with the much more popular rose blossom water. Please be careful when adding the orange blossom water, or rose water, because it is very strong. Use only a capful, never more.
Mix the mixture together, using a whisk, until the sugar has completely dissolved, which should just take a few minutes.Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients slowly, allowing time for the bread to soak it up. Do not fill too high, just high enough to cover the bread. If there is extra of the liquid mixture left over, that is fine. A mixture like that could be used in a lot of ways, such as in a milkshake.
Add a generous amount of whipped cream to the top.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While everything in this dessert is cooked, with the exception of the milk, we are now going to place the serving dish into the oven. Cook at 400 degrees for about five to ten minutes. After that time, the whipped cream on top will melt, forming a beautiful brown, crispy top on the dessert. Once that happens, you can remove the serving dish from the oven.
Now add more whipped cream to the top of the dessert. You can then add some berries, such as raspberries. The berries are optional, but it would be a great way to get a little fruit in with your dessert. You can also take some more of the nuts used earlier and dust some on top of the berries to give it an artistic look.Serve either warm or cold.
Image author: Mkevy