Om Ali...Ali's Mother...A Typical Royal Egyptian Dessert

Happy New Year 2012!!

We must begin the New Year with something sweet!!  So a most appropriate sweet is an Egyptian dessert made for royalty. It is an Egyptian custom...

that the father and mother of the eldest son of a family is called Abu Ali (father of...) and the mother is called (Om Ali...Mother of Ali). This applied only to boys, girls were not important then. Legend has it that back in the days of the Ayyubid dynasty (Arabic: الأيوبيون‎) which was of Kurdish origin,[1][2][3] founded by Saladin and centered in Egypt, that Om Ali married to one of the rulers was "gotten rid of" by that ruler's second wife by the name of Shagaret El Dorr (Tree of Pearls) so as to be the number one wife. To celebrate the event, she distributed to the people bread with milk and honey .  When the ruler passed away, Shagaret El Dorr ruled in his place for a number of years until she too succumbed to the same fate as that of Om Ali...
In order to make this dessert you will need:
  • When you open the filo pastry cover with a damp (not wet) cloth to keep from drying out and breaking.
  • Try to fry only half of the filo and the other with no butter to make the dessert lighter to digest.
-  300 gr very thin filo pastry sheets same as the ones used for the pistachio baklava.
-  250 gr castor sugar.
-  1½ liters of milk boiled with pieces of orange rind and 1/3 pod vanilla and left to infuse.
-  1½ cups of good quality fresh butter at room temperature.

-  100 gr walnuts.
-  100 gr cashew nuts.
-  100 gr roasted almonds*.
-  100 gr raisins soaked in boiling water 24 hours so as ti swell.
-  100 gr black currants soaked in boiling water with the raisins so as to swell.
-  2-3 Tbsp. Maraschino Luxardo according to taste.
* Unroasted almonds are put on a cookie sheet in a preheated oven to 160 degrees C for 15 minutes.
Preparing the filling:
-  Mix all nuts together and break them using a mortar and pestle. They must not be pulverized.
-  By now the raisins and black currants should be well swollen; strain but do not throw away the juice which is deliciously sweet and may be used for something else some other day.
-  Mix broken nuts, raisins, black currants and nuts together well..
-  Add 2-3 Tbsp. Maraschino Luxardo and mix well. Let stand till needed.
Cutting Filo With Blade
-  Using the base of the round oven proof dish (in this case 28 cm)  cut the filo same size with a very sharp knife or a razor blade. Keep any pieces of filo pastry which can be used as well. They do not need to be round.
Round Filo To Fit The Oven Proof Dish.
-  Melt butter in 30 cm stick free pan and heat.  Add some olive oil to prevent butter from burning.
-  Start frying each 28 cm sheet of filo pastry in the 30 cm pan. In and Out, quickly do not burn.
Filo Pieces To Be Use

-  Lay on kitchen paper to absorb any excess butter. You will see that the filo sheets will become very crispy and delicious!
-  Fry the round filo sheets as well.
-  Once all the filo sheets are fried, lay half in the bottom of the baking dish.
-  Empty the filling onto the baking dish over the bottom filo pastry sheets and disperse well around to cover the dish well.

-  Lay the other half of the filo pastry sheets on top of the filling.
-  Strain out the orange rind pieces and the vanilla pod.
-  Pour the boiling milk over the whole.

-  Let stand ½ hour or till you see that the filo pastry has absorbed all milk.

Before Baking
-  Bake in a 180 - 200 degree preheated oven for 45 minutes or till the top has nicely tanned.

Best of luck and,
Bon Appétit,


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