Similar to a bread pudding, or a bread and butter pudding in the UK, this dessert is given an exotic Middle Eastern twist with the addition of toasted nuts and perfumed rose water. I like golden raisins (available online and from Middle Eastern stores) for their juicy sweetness. Darker raisins tend to be less juicy and more puckered, so use the same quantity of chopped dried apricots instead if golden raisins are hard to come by.
1 × 11 oz/320 g sheet of puff pastry
¾ cup (3 oz/85 g) golden raisins
⅓ cup (1¾ oz/50 g) pine nuts, toasted
⅓ cup (1¾ oz/50 g) whole almonds, toasted
and roughly chopped
⅛ cup (1 oz/25 g) raw pistachios,
toasted and roughly chopped
3¼ cups (1¼ pints/750 ml) whole milk
generous 1 cup (9 fl oz/250 ml) heavy (double) cream
⅓ cup (2¼ oz/60 g) golden superfine (caster) sugar 1 teaspoon rose water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6. Unroll the puff pastry and lay it on a flat baking sheet. Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 12 minutes, until golden and puffed. Turn the oven temperature up to 425°F/220°C/gas mark 7.
When the pastry has cooled slightly, roughly chop it and arrange it in a baking dish with the raisins and nuts. Pour the milk, cream, and sugar into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. As soon as the mixture starts to bubble, remove from the heat and stir in the rose water. Pour the mixture over the pastry, raisins and nuts. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the top and place in the center of the hot oven.
Bake for 22–25 minutes, until golden and bubbling. Serve warm.
Recipe excerpted from Middle Eastern Sweets by Salma Hage. Copyright 2021 Phaidon Press.
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