This Persian dessert of iridescent milk jelly, delicately perfumed with almond, is set off to perfection by the exotic flavours of the orange flower water syrup and beautiful colours of the fruit salad.
Pour 150 ml of the milk into a saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatine over the top and leave to sponge for 5 minutes without stirring.
Stir in the sugar and set the pan over a low heat. Cook gently, without boiling, until the sugar and gelatine have completely dissolved, stirring frequently. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining milk and the almond essence. Pour into four small decorative jelly moulds (they will need to have a capacity of at least 175 ml) or one large one. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for several hours, or until set.
Meanwhile, to make the syrup for the fruit salad, thinly peel the rind from 1 orange and cut into thin strips. Squeeze the juice from the orange into a saucepan and add the zest, sugar, cardamom pods and 150 ml of water. Heat gently, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil. Boil for 5–10 minutes, or until reduced and syrupy. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and orange-flower water. Leave to cool.
Peel the remaining 2 oranges, removing all the white pith, and cut crosswise into slices. Peel and slice the bananas. Scoop out the seeds from the pomegranate half. Combine the fruit in a bowl and pour over the syrup.
Turn out the jellies onto individual plates. Surround with fruit salad and serve immediately.