Om Ali literally translates to "Ali's mother". It is a traditional Middle Eastern bread pudding loaded with nuts and raisins. My family typically made om ali with very thin sheets of dried wheat pastry called "rugaag" which were soaked with a milky custard. Since we don't have access to those sheets in the States, I had to improvise.
After seeing Hind from @bookofdishes make her om ali with puff pastry, I thought I'd give it a shot....and I am SO glad I did.
I decided to use a blend of baked puff pastry and some crescent rolls. My dad claims this is the best and "richest" om ali he has ever had. It may just be dad talk, but I admit it tastes pretty darn amazing.
1 sheet puff pastry
2 sticks crescent rolls (I like the Pillsbury original flavor)
~ 3 cups whole milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
~ 1 cup heavy cream
6oz can of gishta/cream (substitute with more heavy cream or mascarpone)
9-10 whole cardamom pods
5 - 6 cinnamon sticks
3 - 4 tablespoons unsalted Butter for ramekins/baking dishes
1.5 - 2 cups mixed nuts (toasted unsalted pistachios, peeled
almonds, toasted pecans)
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
Follow package instructions to bake puff pastry and crescent rolls. You can also do this a few days ahead and store in a ziplock.
Once pastries are cooled, tear into small bite size pieces.
Over medium low heat, whisk together milk, heavy cream, gishta cream, and condensed milk. Add cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves and bring to a low simmer allowing it to thicken slightly (about 20-30 minutes).
Prep nuts by toasting them lightly if needed and roughly chopping them as desired. You can also use a food processor if you like a more consistent texture.
Butter ramekins or baking dish(es) with unsalted butter.
Fill ramekins with the mixed shredded pastry and pack it in.
Garnish each ramekin with the chopped nut mixture.
Strain milk mixture so that no whole spices are left behind. Pour strained mixture over the shredded pastry until soaked and covered by about half an inch. It will look like it is swimming, but that’s exactly what you want because it will get all soaked up.
Bake in a preheated 375F oven until the liquid sets on top and the tips of the pastry start browning. Timing will depend on the width and depth of your baking vessel, so keep a close eye on it.