The regular readers of my blog know that I’m not a fine food person. Food that looks like abstract art on the plate and requires a science lab to create, that is not my kind of food. I’m a real food person. Toasted spices, fresh vegetables, lots of herbs, juicy meat, charred kebabs, cheese smothered casseroles and desserts that make you go mmmmmm …that’s my kind of food!

I don’t cook to impress people, I cook to make people happy. Yes, I am old fashioned that way! When I think of creating happiness, bread puddings come in the top 10 of my most favourite comfort foods. And I love all possible variations, be it the English bread and butter pudding, the South Asian Shahi Tukrey or the Egyptian Classic Umm Ali. If you will make me choose at gun point, I’ll definitely go for the last one.

Why? Because it has oodles of crushed puff pastry (one of my big weaknesses but don’t tell anyone), lots of mixed nuts and dried fruits, creamy silky inside with hot sweetened milk and crispy caramelised top broiled to perfection. No, that’s not all. This divine dessert, in all it’s moorish glory, is simpler, easier and quicker to make than any other pudding. At least my version is!

Umm Ali is made with already baked puff pastry instead of any other regular bread and eggs are not added to the milk syrup that goes in. Now you can take the longer route and bake some puff pastry or you can use any of the baked products made with puff pastry to save time as I do. Croissants and Palmiers ( heart shaped French pastry) are two good options. Since croissants are more easily available everywhere all the time, I mostly go for them.

I am a pretty humble person when it comes to boasting about any success but this easy Umm Ali recipe is really worth taking my chances. Seriously this is one of the best desserts I’ve ever eaten and I have high hopes that you will agree once you have tried it for yourself!

The name is very strange though, right! Umm Ali means Ali’s Mother. To make the long and dark story short, the dessert was created in 13th century Egypt. The time was of political turmoil due to the power struggle within a Sultan’s entourage and Harems. Umm Ali was the first wife of Sultan Aybek. The Sultan was killed by his second wife Shajar Al Durr, who was also plotting to kill Umm Ali’s son, the successor to the Sultan. To protect her son, Umm Ali had Shajar Al Durr imprisoned and later killed.

A new and delicious dessert was created and distributed among common people to announce the celebration of the death of previous queen and reign of new Sultan. Um Ali, the dessert got associated with the name of that lady and became known as the dessert of celebrations in Egypt and gradually all over Middle East.

Now that you know the story, I think it’s time you put on the apron and get baking this easy Umm Ali recipe to simply celebrate good food, life without politics and family that’s not planning to kill you!


4 large croissants
1+1/2 cup condensed milk
1+1/2 cup full fat milk
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup pistachios
1/4 cup almonds
1/2 cup raisins
A few drops almond essence(optional)
1/2 cup heavy cream or clotted cream

This Is What You Do:

Preheat oven at 180 degrees C.

Tear up croissants into chunks roughly by hand. Crush, pistachios and almonds.

Mix pieces from three croissants, coconut, raisins, half of crushed almonds and pistachios in an oven proof dish. Choose a flat bottom, shallow dish not a very deep bowl. It helps even cooking.

Heat milk, condensed milk and almond essence in a saucepan till warm and blended together. Pour the milk mixture over the croissants in the bowl. Leave for 5 minutes to allow the pastry to soak up some of the milk mixture.

Now add bits from the fourth croissant on top. So that it stays above the liquid part and gets extra crispy in the oven. Dot with cream or clotted cream.

Place the dish under the broiler for five minutes or bake uncovered for 8-10 minutes till the sweet sauce is bubbling on the sides and the top turns nicely golden brown.

Turn off the heat but still leave the pudding in the hot oven for another 5 minutes.

Remove from oven. Garnish with remaining nuts and serve warm.

Serves 3

28 Replies to “Easy Umm Ali Recipe, Egyptian Bread Pudding”

  1. This was the best and easiest recipe ever. Every time I made this, I got so many compliments and all the credit goes to this recipe! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Omg umm ali is in my to-do list since forever and yours looks s rich and divine. I am literally drooling over it.

  3. can you believe I so indulged reading the write up that forgot the commenting part and closed it. Loved reading it. Recipe looking absolutely drooling and mouthwatering.

  4. hahaha me too not a fine dine person. I loved reading the history behind this recipe, never heard about this dish, but I tell you have described so well that literally, I am drooling here and want to eat asap πŸ™‚

  5. Hi Maria,
    I never heard of this dish! Looks so yummmmy and tasty. I can feel all the dry fruits and my family’s favourite croissant. Would love to try this one soon. Thank you for sharing the story about umm Ali.

  6. Maria, firstly high 5 on our choice of food. I am a big fan of traditional food too and I think it has a lot to do with the way we have been brought up. We love our food and wont compromise on smaller portions or food art /science . ha ha .. Needless to say, the description made me crave for this seriously. Puff pastries – yum! The Trivia about the dish makes it more interesting too. I have to get baking now soon.. The recent home shift has made me plainly lazy.

    1. Hi Salma,
      You can cook regular milk with sugar added to it till it’s sufficiently reduced and thickened. But that will take time and patience. Or you can make a thick mixture of dry milk, water and powdered sugar. The taste won’t be exactly the same but will work for this recipe.
      Condensed milk is easy to find at most grocery stores.

  7. Hi Maria,
    that’s look so tasty, sadly, when it is come to baking I must admit that I’m not good
    you encouraged me though, by saying that it is very easy and quick
    I want to try this someday
    i’ve been so busy lately, but thank God, today i have time to sit and read and enjoy your delicious post
    thanks for sharing Maria

    1. It’s always lovely to hear from you, dear Nisa! Yes, it’s easier than any bread pudding because all you have to do is mix a few things in an oven proof dish and put them in the oven 😊
      I’m sure you will do fabulously!
      And Happy Eid ul Adha to you, my dear friend! πŸ’

    1. I’m a big bread pudding fan – all sorts of bread puddings! But this one is my favourite because it’s so rich and still so quick to make.
      Thank you for your reassuring words, dear Shubha 😊😘

  8. Hi Maria,

    I tried this Umm Ali Recipe… it turned out great !! .. this was a real melt-in-mouth treat :).. enjoyed every bit of it :).. and Oh ! I really loved the crunchy croissant topping ! that really added an extra zing to this recipe !..

    najla (@c4cooking)

    1. Thank you so much, Najla, for such a positive feedback and taking time to stop by the blog! 😊 Sometimes little things make a big difference in the recipe, right! That crispy croissant top is my favourite bit too 😊

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.