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Um Ali Dessert

Um Ali Dessert

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Remove the puff pastry from the freezer 2 hours before using and thaw. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and position the rack in the center. Meanwhile, place 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream in a small pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Keep a watchful eye on the cream and reduce by half. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Lay out the puff pastry slices on a baking sheet and then place them in the oven for 5-10 minutes (you want them to be puffed up and golden brown). Remove from the oven and let cool. In a pot, combine the milk, remaining heavy cream, sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat.

Add the vanilla extract and reduced cream and remove from the heat. Break the puff pastry into small pieces and place half the amount in a 9-by-5-inch baking dish. Top with the almonds, walnuts, pistachios, sultanas, and shredded coconut. Top with the other half of the puff pastry.

Slowly add the milk mixture, one ladle at a time, until the milk fully covers the puff pastry. Let rest for 10 minutes as the puff pastry absorbs some of the milk. Add the milk again until it covers the puff pastry. Bake on the center rack for 15 minutes. Place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to get a golden top. For a nice presentation, spoon into individual ramekins and top with additional ground nuts.

Om Ali is a traditional and national Egyptian Dessert. It is basically a bread pudding in which Egyptian bread is soaked in milk with nuts and baked with clotted cream topping. Om Ali is sometimes also spelled as Um Ali or Umm Ali, all these are the same dessert.

This is not an authentic recipe for Egyptian dessert that requires traditional Egyptian bread Rooa and Egyptian clotted cream. But I can promise this is the most delicious version of Om Ali. Like always, I tried to keep recipe simple with easy to find ingredients and best taste that is close to authentic flavors.

Ramadan recipe: Umm Ali

Fancy adding Umm Ali, a favourite dessert during Ramadan, to your own table? Try this recipe from Tamer Shawki, the executive sous chef at Conrad Dubai.

500g croissant or baked puff pastry

15g pistachios, coarsely chopped

15g toasted almond, coarsely chopped

25g dates, pits removed, cut into small pieces

250g whipping cream, (whipped to medium peaks)

Preheat the oven’s broiler to 200°C. In an oven-safe baking dish (see note below), break apart ¾ of the croissant or baked puff pastry and arrange in layers. Set remaining ¼ pastry aside. Add the pistachios, almonds, raisins, desiccated coconut and dates on top of the pastry. Next, in a medium saucepan, stir milk, sugar and rosewater over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then bring to a boil. Pour the boiling milk mixture over the pastry in the baking dish. Use the reserved ¼ pastry to top the surface of the milk-soaked pastry (this will create an extra crunchy topping). Whip the cream until it forms medium peaks. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the pastry. Place the dish under the oven’s broiler until bubbling around the edges and the top turns golden brown – about 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on it as it might brown in less time. Serve immediately.

Use a two-quart (or 9 inch by 13 inch) baking dish. You can also use a shallower, larger rectangular dish. The larger surface area of the shallow dish allows for more browning and crunch on top, ensuring crispy, caramelised bites with every mouthful.


Um Ali is a purely Egyptian dessert – and one of the cuisine’s most famous creations.

It’s a blend of puff pastry bits with pistachios, coconut flakes and raisins, with plenty of sweetened milk poured over the top. All these ingredients create a texture that’s a pleasure to eat. And it’s not too sweet thanks to the crunchy nuts and cream.

It’s all about the dough, which is prepared especially for this dessert, Hussein says. The dough for Um Ali is folded over and flattened with a layer of butter in the middle. And this process is repeated a half dozen times with an hour of waiting in between before the dough is popped into the oven.

At Cafe Corniche, the Um Ali includes plenty of nuts that add a crunchy texture and contrast the creaminess of the milky pastry. Odd bursts of raisins pack in some sweetness.

Um Ali is one of the Egyptian desserts that’s especially good during Ramadan after fasting, Hussein says. The dessert is rich in calcium and vitamins that are replenishing after a long day of fasting. The cream helps aid digestion.

Though this wonderful Egyptian dessert has a dark history that goes back to the country’s Mamluk rule.

Um Ali Dessert - Recipes

By: Blanche Shaheen/Arab America Contributing Writer

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. So when there was leftover stale bread throughout the ages, people loathed throwing out these scraps, especially since food was scarce. In the Arab world, they reinvented bread into other more enticing dishes like fattoush, where the leftover bread was transformed into croutons, adding crunch and heft to a fresh salad. “Fatteh” recipes were also popular, where bits of bread were added to casseroles of either chickpea, pine nuts, and hummus or layered with eggplant, lamb, and yogurt.

In these dishes, the leftover bread provided a hearty starch replacement for rice. However, bread puddings are a whole other level of transformation, turning inexpensive scraps of bread into a decadent dessert with the addition of sugar and milk. As bread pudding dates back to ancient times, one can guess ancient Egypt provided the template for modern bread puddings, with the most popular one called Oum Ali.

Umm Ali–Egyptian dessert

There are several stories of how the mysterious Oum Ali originated, but the most pervasive legend focuses on a wealthy sultan on a hunting trip down the Nile River. He and his hunting party got hungry, so they made a pit stop at a poor village along the way. The locals called upon their best cook, Oum Ali, to feed the hungry sultan. “Oum” means mother in Arabic, so she was basically the mother of Ali. Since she had these unexpected royal guests, she whipped up a bread pudding using whatever she had on hand, like scraps of stale bread with nuts, dried fruits, and coconut and added milk and sugar to bake it all in the oven. Apparently the sultan loved the dessert so much he returned many times to eat this unique treat at the time. Egyptians still commemorate this dessert by naming it after the creator, Oum Ali.

Bread puddings can be sweet or savory, served warm or cold, simple or complex. Bread pudding’s foundational simplicity lends itself to countless preparations only limited by the imagination. In Oum Ali’s case, you can imagine she grabbed anything from her pantry, like almonds, pistachios, coconut, and sultanas. What makes this bread pudding luxurious, however, is the addition of puff pastry, which surpasses bread with a flaky texture and buttery flavor. No doubt this is a modern addition, but accepted as the traditional recipe nonetheless. Because puff pastry already has butter, there is no need to add extra butter to the recipe. Likewise, the use of condensed milk, which already has sugar in the milk, is all you need to sweeten this dish.

To see how this bread pudding is made, click on the video below:

Oum Ali – The Ancient Egyptian Bread Pudding

1 14 ounces can condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Unroll the puff pastry and place them flat on baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the puff pastry is puffed and golden. Remove from the oven and set aside. Break or cut the puff pastry into small pieces (about 1 to 2 inches). Place the broken pieces into a large bowl and mix evenly with the nuts, raisins, and coconut flakes. Place the pastry mixture into a greased 9×12 baking dish. In a saucepan, heat the sweetened condensed milk, half and half, vanilla, cinnamon on medium heat, and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour the milk mixture over the puff pastry mixture, until the pastry is completely covered. Save any extra milk mixture for spooning on top. Bake uncovered, for about 30 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly tapped. Garnish with more of the cream sauce if desired.

Blanche Shaheen is a journalist, host of the YouTube cooking show called Feast in the Middle East and a cookbook author. For more authentic and classical Middle Eastern recipes, you can now purchase her brand new cookbook: “Feast in the Middle East, A Personal Journey of Family and Cuisine” by clicking HERE:

To check out her cooking video tutorials and other recipes follow Blanche on:

Umm Ali

Pin I am pleased to inform that I am hosting the Home Baker’s Challenge for the month of May. A heartfelt thank you going out to Priya akka for giving me the opportunity to host this lovely challenge. The first challenge was pizza, and from then on we have had some wonderful challenges with healthy participation. To have a look at what all I have cooked up as a part of this challenge, you can check it out here.After having some months of only-sweet challenges, I provided participants with a list of Arabic bakes, three savoury and three sweet dishes to enjoy baking and eating, of course. It was not easy for me to put up the list, as even though I eat Arabic food quite a lot from out, cooking them was something new to me and I wanted to make this as a base to start my exploration. The three savoury dishes were Spinach Fatayer, Manakesh Zaatar and Mushroom Spinach Cigar Rolls. The three sweet bakes were Umm Ali, Arabic Date Walnut Cake and Lebanese Sesame Cookies. I hope that the members would have enjoyed the challenge as much as I loved putting the recipes together and hosting it, as well.

As usual, to do justice to my blog name, I went for a sweet bake and Umm Ali, it had to be! There is a lot of history regarding this dessert, which basically translates as “Mother of Ali”. I wouldn’t want to dwell about it because irrespective of history, this is one dessert that I just love to the core. Each time we go for an oriental buffet, I am always in for almost half a plate of Umm Ali. There are so many variations of Umm Ali, but basically it’s a bread based dessert, loaded with goodness of nuts and coconut, baked after literally soaking it in spiced sugary milk. Get the gyst. If you want to read more about the history of this yummilicious dessert, you can just click on the link from where I adapted the recipe from and enjoy reading it.

I made a batch which was quite enough for a big gang, so could go into the group of make-ahead desserts for any party. Since it is to be served warm, you can do each step in advance, and just bake it a hour before the meal is about to end. I packed almost half of it for my HD’s gang, who appreciated it as a “different” dessert. Remaining was faithfully finished off by all at home. Actually speaking, with the overload of nuts, I guess it can be had as a meal in itself. Hehe…. My new glass dish from IKEA was utilized very effectively as it was nice and deep enough to accomodate all the puff pastry and the milk. Moving on to how I made this dessert. Recipe adapted from here

Ingredients of Umm Ali

  • 5 puff pastry roll
  • 200 gm sugar
  • 50 gm pistachios
  • 50 gm fresh cream
  • 1 litre milk
  • 50 gm cashews
  • 50 gm raisins
  • 4 drops vanilla essence

How to make Umm Ali

Step 1

Thaw the frozen puff pastry and roll into thin sheets. Next, take a baking tray and dust it with a little flour and place the puff pastry sheets on the tray. Then take a fork and prick the sheets with it. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degree Celsius till crisp, take out and keep at room temperature.

Step 2

Boil milk in a deep-bottomed pan, and add vanilla essence along with sugar to it. After a boil, turn off the gas and let the milk cool down at room temperature. Then grease a cake mould with butter and place baked puff pastry randomly in the mould. Afterwards, pour the boiled milk into the mold and add the chopped nut on them.

Step 3

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degree Celsius for about 15 minutes. Take out from the oven once done and cool down at room temperature. Garnish with fresh cream and nuts, and serve immediately.


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 250g filo pastry, thawed if frozen
  • 1.4 ltrs semi-skimmed milk
  • 400ml tin lighter coconut milk
  • 397g tin condensed milk
  • 100g dark soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g desiccated coconut
  • 150g raisins
  • 80g walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 80g whole almonds, roughly chopped
  • 80g pistachios, roughly chopped

Each serving contains




of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 67.7g Protein 15.6g Fibre 3.1g

Om Ali-Traditional Egyptian Dessert Recipe

With the puff pastry, nuts, raisins coconut and cream this is a super treat!

  • a
  • surprise
  • for
  • your
  • family
  • or
  • company
  • sweet
  • creamy
  • broil
  • middle-eastern
  • a
  • surprise
  • for
  • your
  • family
  • or
  • company
  • sweet
  • creamy
  • broil
  • middle-eastern

Schedule your weekly meals and get auto-generated shopping lists.

  • 1 (17.5 ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar, divided
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


  • 1 (17.5 ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed shopping list
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnutsshopping list
  • 1 cup chopped pecansshopping list
  • 1 cup chopped hazelnutsshopping list
  • 1 cup raisinsshopping list
  • 1 cup flaked coconutshopping list
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar, divided shopping list
  • 4 cups milkshopping list
  • 1/2 cup heavy creamshopping list

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  • Place the pastry sheets in the baking dish and place the dish in the oven. Watch it closely. When the top layer turns crunchy and golden, remove it from the oven. Continue until all the sheets are cooked.
  • Preheat the oven broiler.
  • In a bowl, combine walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, raisins, coconut and 1/4 cup sugar.
  • Break cooked pastry into pieces and stir into nut mixture. Spread mixture evenly in 9x13 inch dish.
  • Bring milk and 1/2 cup sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  • Pour over nut mixture.
  • Beat the heavy cream with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar until stiff peaks form.
  • Spread evenly over nut mixture in dish.
  • Place dessert under oven broiler until top is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Serve hot.
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The Rating

:) Again JM..Impressing one and Thank you for mentioning that this one is EGYPTIAN.

This does sound great! I did rate you wanting to rate this higher but grand baby was in my lap and pressed the wrong button. sorry. but this is a great post!