Um Ali Bread Pudding

This dessert, known as Um Ali Bread Pudding, is named after the mother um Ali. Om Ali was the wife of a ruler from the Ayyubid dynasty in Egypt called Ezz El-Din Aybek. Her rival Shagaret El Dorr was the second wife of that ruler. After his death, Shagaret El Dorr arranged for Om Ali to be murdered, and to celebrate, she requested from her cooks to come up with the most delicious dessert they can think of to distribute to throughout Egypt. The successful recipe was a special pastry with milk and honey, that was named Om Ali. A gold coin was added to each plate & distributed in the streets of Egypt. Shagaret El Dorr ruled Egypt for some time in the name of her husband, and later died in a conspiracy too. This dish to date is still known as Om Ali. This dessert is a quick and easy way to win legions of hearts. It’s also a mouth-watering way to use up stale croissants – or a great reason to go and buy some!

Um Ali Bread Pudding
Um Ali Bread Pudding

You can eat the ‘original’ Um Ali Bread Pudding in several restaurants in Jerusalem and buy it from street vendors at the markets in Jerusalem. Further, this recipe serves 4 persons and it takes a half hour to cook it and 15 minutes to prepare it.

  • 4 all-butter croissants
  • 2 tbsp raisins or dried mixed berries
  • 2 tbsp flaked/slivered almonds, plus extra to sprinkle
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped shelled unsalted pistachios
  • 250ml/9fl oz/generous 1 cup milk
  • 5 tbsp caster/superfine sugar
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp orange blossom water
  • 250ml/9fl oz/generous 1 cup whipping cream
  • 4 tbsp desiccated/shredded coconut
  • 1 small egg, beaten

    Um Ali Bread Pudding
    Um Ali Bread Pudding

  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas 4 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  2. Tear up the croissants into bite-size pieces, place on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 minutes until crisp and golden.
  3. Spread the baked croissant pieces across the base of a baking dish, about 28cm/11¼in square.
  4. Sprinkle over the raisins, almonds, pine nuts and pistachios, making sure they are spread evenly.
  5. Heat the milk in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of the sugar and mix well to dissolve.
  6. Reduce the heat to low, add the cinnamon and orange blossom water and heat through at a gentle simmer for 3–4 minutes.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and leave it to cool so that the egg will not scramble when it’s added to it.
  8. Meanwhile, put the cream and the remaining sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk until the mixture forms soft peaks.
  9. Sprinkle in the coconut and gently fold to incorporate.
  10. Add the egg to the cool milk mixture and whisk to combine.
  11. Ladle the mixture into the baking dish and spread the whipped cream over the top.
  12. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until everything is bubbling and the top is golden, if necessary placing it under a hot grill/broiler for the last 1–2 minutes to brown the top.
  13. Remove from the oven and leave to stand for a couple of minutes. Serve warm.
Um Ali Bread Pudding
Um Ali Bread Pudding
Um Ali Bread Pudding
Um Ali Bread Pudding
Um Ali Bread Pudding
Um Ali Bread Pudding
Um Ali Bread Pudding
Um Ali Bread Pudding

1 Comment

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