Om (or um) Ali is a dessert often compared to bread pudding, but is far more interesting and complex—made with broken baked puff pastry, it’s soft and creamy in the middle, almost like rice pudding, with chewy edges and crunchy bits of pastry, coconut and nuts.
- Yield: 6 to 8 servings
½ pkg puff pastry, thawed
1 can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup half and half
3 to 4 green cardamom pods
1 tsp vanilla
⅓ cup raisins (optional)
½ cup whole almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
½ cup pistachios, shelled and chopped
¼ to ½ cup coarsely shredded coconut or coconut chips
Vanilla ice cream, optional
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Unroll thawed puff pastry, or, if it’s a brick, roll it out to ¼-inch thick—it doesn’t matter what shape it is. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine sweetened condensed milk with a can full of water and the half and half, along with the cardamom. Bring to a simmer and cook for a few minutes, watching so that it doesn’t boil over. Remove from heat, scoop out cardamom pods and stir in vanilla.
Butter a shallow baking dish and tear puff pastry into 1- to 2-inch pieces. Place in the baking dish and scatter with raisins (if you like), almonds, pistachios and coconut. Pour milk mixture overtop, place on a baking sheet (in case there are drips) and return to the oven for about 20 minutes, or until bubbly and golden. Cool slightly and serve warm, at room temperature or cold, with or without ice cream.