Eid Mubarak to you all! It is Eid in Dubai!! The festive season of the middle east is on. And festivals only mean one thing. Sweets and deserts. I personally do not have a sweet tooth, but I sure can appreciate the cravings my loved ones have for sugar.
Many of you might be aware of the popular Sheer Khurma desert that is made and served on Eid in India and Pakistan. It is a Pashto name meaning milk and dates. For those of you who don’t, it is a sweet made of vermicelli, milk, dates, dry nuts and sugar. People have their own family recipes for this simple dish that is made in every house for this special occasion. Basically Eid is incomplete without Sheer Khurma.
As much as I like the dish it does not excite my Cookathon senses. I wanted to make something different and serve our family and friends something that is out of the norm for Eid. So I left the Sheer Khurma making to my mother and tried to make a simple cake with nutella in the middle layer topped with ganache and strawberries.
You would think how simple. That is what I thought too. But that is not what happened. I mixed my cake batter, greased the baking tray and baked my cake. When I tried to get it out of my tray it came out in pieces. My simple vanilla cake was ruined. I guess it was too spongy or too hot. I do not know. As this was happening my brother was standing right next to me and watching. He was looking forward to the nutella filled cake so you can only imagine his disappointed face. He started giving ideas of how I can make small sized cakes by trying to salvage what little was left of it. I turned a deaf ear and started to crumble the entire cake with my hands. My brother left the kitchen not knowing what I had in mind.
I pressed the cake crumbs into the chocolate moulds that I had and left it in the refrigerator for a while. Then, I made the chocolate ganache as planned and dipped each cake dumpling into it. Let it rest in the refrigerator again. Meanwhile I tempered white chocolate and drizzled it over the ganache covered cake dumplings. They looked fabulous. Just as I was giving it my finishing touches my brother walked into the kitchen. I must say, he xould not contain his smile waiting to dig into these tiny cake dumplings smothered with chocolate.
I had a lot of that cake crumb left, and lots of time to kill.
I decided to make another desert with whatever ingredients I had at home. Because .. as you can see the time stamp on the pictures .. it was in the middle of the night ( I am kinda nocturnal). I started making Um Ali. This is a very popular Egyptian desert which is very easy to make once you get the hang of it. It is a baked sweet dish that is made of fluffy puff pastries soaked in sweetened milk and nuts with dry coconut on top to get a crisp layer.
I had fresh croissants. Tore them into big chunks and layered them in my baking tray. Then, I heated two and half cups of cardamom flavoured evaporated milk and dissolved one cup of granulated sugar in it, and drizzled it over the croissant pieces. I added raisins, dried pineapple cubes, cut almonds, cut pistachios, chopped hazelnuts and macadamia nuts on top and baked it for 15 minutes.
The croissants had soaked up all the milk. Now the next part might surprise some of you but I did it anyway. I used the leftover cake crumbs as a final topping and baked it for another twenty minutes till it became golden brown.
This really is not the actual recipe for Um Ali. So let me just call it Cookathon’s Um Ali. The soft milky croissants enveloped with the richness of all those nuts and the crunch of the cake crumbs on the top does wonders to your taste buds. Try it!