September 5, 2014

Umm Ali from Egypt (low fat version) | Low fat desserts | Party Ideas

Ali is not someone I know, and Umm Ali (in Arabic) means mother of Ali. Also someone I dont know. But what I know was the dish was wiped clean in a matter of minutes. A dessert at my place has never had such success, and I am patting myself on the back for choosing to make this.

If I had declared a no-sugar BM series at the beginning of my Armenian Baba Ganoush post, how come this dessert ? Two reasons - one : its a really really low fat, and very mild sweet version of the original. Two : Rules are meant to be broken, atleast for a reason (today being 12 yrs of being together with the husband). That calls for a decadent dessert right, away from the usual cakes.. Flowers, and diamonds I dont mind :p (am still looking forward to the evening when I think I might have a surprise from hubby !! we women dont learn :D)

Anyways, long story cut short : If you like mildly sweet desserts along with a low cal/low fat version thrown in, check out this recipe. The original of course contained cream which I totally replaced with milk (low fat). Yes, the original looked a lot more creamier and luscious but we were pretty happy with our version too :-))

The origin of this dessert is a rather sad one from Egypt (where this dessert has origins from), which I would skip today on account of the happy occasion. If you are keen to read it however, please head here.  Oh ! and one more thing, I was so happy with the replacement Cherie's recipe gave me in place of the (ever unattainable) puff pastry sheets : she suggested I use croissants instead. That was a superb replacement and thanks so much to Cherie. However if you have access to puff pastry sheets, head here for the original recipe. Else my recipe works for the croissant version, albeit low fat.

Before we head to the recipe, 5 quick facts about Egypt, known as the "Gift of the Nile" (source - Wiki)

  • The English name Egypt is derived from the ancient Greek Aígyptos (Αγυπτος), via Middle French Egypte and Latin Aegyptus.
  • There is evidence of rock carvings along the Nile terraces and in desert oases. In the 10th millennium BC, a culture of hunter-gatherers and fishers was replaced by a grain-grinding culture. Climate changes or overgrazing around 8000 BC began to desiccate the pastoral lands of Egypt, forming the Sahara.
  • The Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt considered the most important center of the maritime transport in the Middle East, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows ship transport between Europe and Asia without navigation around Africa
  • Egyptian cuisine is characterized by dishes such as Ful Medames, mashed fava beansKoshari, a mixture of lentils, rice, pasta, and other ingredients; 'Molokheyya, a green plant chopped and cooked with garlic and coriander sauce; and Fetir Meshaltet. Egyptian cuisine shares similarities with food of the Eastern Mediterranean region, such as rice-stuffed vegetables, grape leaves, ShawermaKebabFalafelBaba Ghannoug, and baklava.
  • Bread made from a simple recipe forms the backbone of Egyptian cuisine. It is consumed at almost all Egyptian meals; a working-class or rural Egyptian meal might consist of little more than bread and beans 

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Country : Egypt
Dish : Umm Ali - a decadent Egyptian Dessert
Serving Suggestions : Warm, served as it is, or with maple syrup or plain vanilla ice cream
Sourcehere & here
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Prep time : 15 mins | Baking time : 15-18 mins (max 20) | Serves : 4
Ingredients:
  • Large Croissants - 3 nos
  • Full fat or low fat Milk - about 500 ml
  • Chopped nuts (I used walnuts and raisins and almonds) - about 1 large cup
  • Pistachios - fro topping (I skipped this)
  • Demerrera sugar (wet brown sugar) - 5 TBSP (adjust accordingly)
  • Saffron strands - few (optional)
  • Cream - 1/4 cup (I didnt use)
  • Cinnamon powder - 1 tsp
  • Brown sugar to sprinkle on top


Method: 
  1. Mix the nuts, half of the sugar in a big bowl. crumble the croissants into smaller pieces, and add to the bowl with the nuts. Transfer to an oven proof dish (I used one large dish and two ramekins)
  2. Bring milk to a boil with the saffron and 1 TBSP of sugar. Pour half the quantity over the croissants- nut mixture and let the stuff soak up the milk. 
  3. If using cream mix it with the remaining sugar and pour on top to form the top layer. Else repeat the same with milk
  4. Sprinkle cinnamon powder and brown sugar on top.
  5. Baked in a preheated oven at 180 degree C for 20 minutes or till the top browns.
  6. Top with chopped pistachios.
  7. Serve warm or cold.



19 comments:

  1. Well I guess I can accept this low fat dessert from you then..lol..:)..very nicely done and a great idea Kalyani..

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  2. I hope you had a great anniversary. A very fitting dessert for a big celebration

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  3. Happy anniversary! The story behind the dessert is sad but love the dessert. I was meaning to make this dessert for some time. Croissants are a nice idea to substitute for puff pastry

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  4. First of all, many many happy returns of the day. Hope you had a great day.
    Decadent dessert. I came across croissant versions too and these buttery, flaky breads would nicely substitute for puff pastry I guess. Milk instead of cream definitely lowers the calories.

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  5. Many Many Happy Returns of the Day, Kalyani! Hope you got the flowers and diamonds as well :)
    This dessert looks decadent even if you say it is low fat :)

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  6. ahh teachers day is your day? happy birthday dear...and this one is lovely like a bread pudding...you end up making a croissant dish also low fat...you are good

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  7. Many many happy returns of the day Kalyani !
    Umm ali is such an interesting dessert and low fat version sounds great !

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  8. Congrats and Happy anniversary Kalyani.. Thats a beautiful dish for celebration, nice alternative for puff pastry, however crossiants works awesome in Umm ali too.

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  9. Thanks girls for ur wishes.. It was our wedding anniversary, not my birthday ! And yes, croissants work beautifully well in place of puff pastry sheets ... We truly loved the dessert warm..

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  10. This dish has been on my to-make list for a very long time. Yours turned out so good. Will try some time.

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  11. Happy Anniversary and love this Egyptian version of bread pudding!

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  12. I alway wanted make this dessert and this low fat version is really interesting :) Using croissant dough for making this a super idea usually they use puff pastry isn't it :) irresistible dessert dear !!

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  13. Happy anniversary Kalyani!Hope you had a wonderful day .I am sure this dessert would have won praises!Looks very delicious...

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  14. By now it is Belated Happy Anniversary.
    I have loved the dessert. .low calorie is good for us..it reminds me of the famous double ka meetha..similar concept. .a must ry and on my list now...

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  15. Happy Anniversary Kalyani and what a nice way to celebrate. The dessert looks yumm...

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  16. Looks super delicious kalyani! ! A very happy anniversary ! !! Using croissant for puff pastry is very clever suggestion!!

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  17. Belated anniversary wishes!! This is a very very yummy dessert. I am stuck with a lot of bread slices, all stale can I replace the croissants with that!!!! :D
    Sounds ridiculous doesn't it?

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  18. Your intro had me in splits...this sounds like a wonderful 'lower-fat' version of a super rich dessert! Can only imagine the taste! Looks wonderful Kalyani....and belated anniversary wishes...have a wonderful year of togetherness

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  19. Very yummy dessert. Looks flaky & delicious.

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hi there ! Thanks for stopping by. Would love to hear what you thought of this post.. your support is invaluable for this blog..

Cheers
Kalyani

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