It’s time for my annual rant… But I won’t! I just won’t… But, please, I will ask one thing of you.. Try not to put chocolate and Nutella in your Ramadan desserts. Please.
This year I wanted to work with an ingredient that is often overlooked when it comes to seasonal desserts. Qamar el Deen (or Amar el Din) is available in two forms. One is the juice concentrate and the other is a ‘leather’ or sheet form made of apricot puree and sweeteners.
A lot of chefs and food bloggers have made their own homemade bread during the quarantine days and although sourdough bread may not be suitable for this recipe, you can always use any stale bread that you may have or even frozen loaf ends from your freezer. I have been collecting a lot of bread for this and I actually managed to excavate some brioche that I had bought in France and taken back to Egypt with me.
Since Bread Pudding is an absolute favorite of mine and it often contains dried fruit, I decided to infuse the whole pudding with the sweet Qamar el Deen sheets and add some dried apricots and nuts as well. I believe that this flavor combination is subtle, sweet and also quite creamy at the same time. The result was bright and very refreshing for a summery Ramadan.
- Here is what you will need:
- 280g of bread, cut into about 1-inch cubes (you can use toast loaves, buns, brioches or anything at hand, but avoid too much whole wheat and sourdough bread because they don’t do the recipe justice)
- 500ml whole milk (reduce 200ml if soaking Qamar el Deen in water)
- 150ml heavy cream
- 200g Qamar el Deen sheets, soaked and dissolved in warm milk and cooled (optional, soak in 250ml warm water or overnight)
- 3 eggs
- 80g sugar
- 1 Tbsp orange zest
- 100g dried apricot, diced
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
- raisins (optional)
- nuts (optional)
- powdered sugar for dusting
- 9-inch baking dish, buttered or sprayed
- First, preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
- Place the bread cubes in the baking dish and add the dried apricot pieces. Try to stuff them in the nooks and crannies in between the bread cubes. Add the raisins and some nuts. Set aside.
- If the Qamar el Deen sheets have not fully dissolved, then you could heat up the liquid in the microwave (short 1-minute bursts) until you don’t find any clumps. Be careful if you are doing this with milk, because if it overheats with the Qamar el Deen in it, it will curdle.
- Whisk the cream, eggs, sugar, orange zest, vanilla extract and cinnamon in a large bowl while gradually adding the milk/Qamar el Deen mixture until smooth and homogenous.
- Carefully pour the whole mixture onto the bread in the baking dish. Make sure that the bread is fairly submerged in the liquid and garnish with some extra dried fruit and nuts.
- Bake in a water bath for about 1 hour.
- Let the bread pudding cool down for at least 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle some powdered sugar and add some whipped cream on top if you like. You may also keep it in the fridge and enjoy it cold.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe and please remember to send me all your photos and videos or tag me in them if you post them on social media. Ramadan Mubarak to you all 🙂