Dip your spoon in to Om Ali—a golden, bread pudding-like dessert, lush and creamy with heat milk, and studded with golden raisins and pistachios—in any eating place or cafe in Doha, Qatar, and also you may not forestall to think something besides this is possibly one of the exceptional cakes in life. The recipe couldn’t be greater simple, nor more perfect. Puff pastry, milk, sugar, cream, and a smattering of nuts and raisins and/or other dried culmination are thrown into an oven and served golden brown.
Qatar, one of the smallest countries of the Gulf States, shares dessert traditions with the relaxation of the Arabic countries of the place. Even because the usa of Qatar rushes headlong into futuristic inexperienced strength structure and planning, this historic dessert hailing from decrease Egypt may be determined at cafes and fancy inns. Q-explorer Qatari manual Abdullah Mohammed told me “you may even devour it for breakfast.”
But, like many famous dishes, the thought of the recipe is hotly disputed—and uncovering the over-the-top proper crime element of one of the three competing beginning stories is an actual thrill experience. All 3 stories refer lower back to the call of the dish—“mom” (om) of Ali, her son. (Thanks to the patriarchy, the lady who created the dessert by no means receives her full call written down within the annals of records.)
One story follows a humble path of a vintage girl (who happens to have a son named Ali) in a poor village inside the Nile Delta, where a sultan within the thirteenth century with apparent imperiousness asked for something to devour when he passed via this specific village at the same time as on a hunt. Scrambling for something worthy of a sultan, the vintage woman mixed collectively whatever she had accessible, and the sultan found it as melt-in-the-mouth scrumptious because the modern day versions, and made it famous upon his go back to the town—naming it after the mom of Ali.
When she allegedly murdered her 2d husband for taking another spouse, his first wife—the purported Om Ali of dessert reputation, who changed into thrown over at Al-Durr’s behest—allegedly bribed some maids to homicide her within the hammam by using beating her to death with their shoes.
A more Cersei Lannister-bent tale, with more windy plot twists than an episode of Game of Thrones, additionally lays claim to the dessert’s origin tale: Life and death stakes combined with a Great British Bake Off flip.
Shajarat Al-Durr (a Syrian chronicler calls her “the maximum foxy women of her age”) began her direction to electricity first as a bonded slave who married a sultan after giving him a son, and when he died, she dominated in his stead. However, because of a completely complicated political situation, she ended up wanting to remarry and misplaced the professional seat of energy due to the fact the powers that be would now not receive a female ruler. But she already had a flavor for head-of-state subjects and became reputed to be pulling the strings at the back of the facade of her 2d husband.
When she allegedly murdered her second husband for taking some other wife, his first spouse—the purported Om Ali of dessert reputation, who became thrown over at Al-Durr’s behest—allegedly bribed a few maids to homicide her inside the hammam by using beating her to death with their shoes. (It’s uncertain whether the footwear was a part of the commands or that become a spontaneous method of murdering.)
Another account says that Al-Durr met an ignominious death via being thrown off the top of the fort via the primary wife, who was looking forward to her candy, sweet revenge. (When you play the Game of Thrones…)
Upon the jubilant news that her rival becomes useless, the first wife demanded her cooks compete to create a dish celebrating her rival’s demise and to be even greater extra, she even served it in with a gold coin inside the bowl.
It needs to be mentioned that this tale suggests up simplest via gleeful stories across the dish and now not in professional ancient debts, which can be in large part because of the truth many reputable history books have been saved by way of guys—maybe they didn’t care approximately the bread pudding-like dessert component.
Navigating lore and records receive a bit “turtles all the way down,” however Al-Durr can also have been discredited in the aftermath after she lost her power as a kind of reputational smear marketing campaign that King Richard III also suffered.
Lastly, eliminated from political intrigue and murder, is a story approximately an Irishwoman. Yes, indeed a dessert dish usually served in the Middle East may want to in all likelihood involve an Irish mistress. An Irish nurse with the own family name O’Malley caught the eye of the ruler, Khedive Ismail who became the Khedive of Egypt and Sudan from 1863 to 1879. Khedive Ismail had a dessert created particularly for her called O’Malley, which, a few say, could have been bastardized into Om Ali with the aid of the Arabic audio system.