Umm Ali

Umm Ali

Umm Ali, om Ali, omali, oumm Ali, this delicious dish is known by many different names, all of them meaning 'Mother of Ali'. The traditional Egyptian dessert with softened puff pastry, a variety of nuts, and cream was first prepared during the Mamluk era and named after the wife of a Sultan. Though umm Ali was invented many centuries ago, it remains delicious and has become a staple treat for special events such as Ramadan throughout the Middle East. Try our easy umm Ali recipe to prepare a creamy bread pudding with nuts for iftar.


  • Preheat the oven to 200°C (regular oven).
  • Cut the puff pastry into squares and place them on a lined baking tray, brush with egg wash, and make sure to leave space between the pieces.
  • Bake them in the oven for 15 minutes or until they are golden. Then, leave them to cool down.
  • Cut the puff pastry squares into smaller pieces and place them in a terracotta baking dish or deep oven dish.
  • Sprinkle the puff pastry with walnuts, raisins, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, and coconut flakes.
  • In a casserole, heat milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and butter at medium heat and keep stirring from time to time until it begins to boil.
  • Pour the milk over the puff pastry and nuts. Leave it for a few minutes until the pastry absorbs the liquid and softens.
  • Carefully cover the surface of the puff pastry with cream.
  • Decrease the oven temperature to 180°C (regular oven).
  • Cook the umm Ali in the oven for 20 minutes until the cream top becomes golden brown.
  • Sprinkle with nuts, raisins, and coconut flakes and serves.

If you have been wondering how to make umm Ali that is smoother, creamier, and less textured, the best tip is to chop the nuts and raisins very finely or give them a few pulses in your blender or food processor. You can also tear the puff pastry into smaller pieces so it will be soaked through faster by the sweet milk. On the other hand, if you would like an even more textured and crunchy umm Ali, simply use big pieces of puff pastry and coarsely chopped cuts. Broiling the dessert for the final few minutes of oven time will also crisp up the cream layer slightly.

Questions about om Ali

Om Ali, umm Ali, or oumm Ali, this authentic dish’s names vary just as much as its flavourful ingredients. With our om Ali recipe, you can make a tasty, traditional bread pudding-like dessert with puff pastry, nuts, raisins, and coconut flakes with creamy, thick cream on top. To learn more about it, read our answers to the most frequently asked questions below.

What is om Ali?
An om Ali pudding is an Egyptian classic. The bread pudding is typically made with puff pastry and sweet milk flavoured with cinnamon, as well as thick cream on top. Classic om Ali ingredients include almonds, pistachios, coconut flakes, and raisins. Other nuts like hazelnuts and walnuts are also often used. Unlike British bread puddings, it does not contain eggs and as such, it has a lighter and looser texture. The popular dessert may be enjoyed either hot or cold.
How to make om Ali?
With an easy om Ali dessert recipe like ours, making a creamy bread pudding filled with traditional Middle Eastern flavours is no big deal. Start by baking the puff pastry until golden and crispy. Cut it into smaller pieces, place it in an oven dish, and sprinkle it with chopped nuts, raisins, and coconut flakes. Cook the sweet milk by combining milk, butter, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pour it over the pastry and let it soak for a few minutes before you cover with cream and bake it in the oven until it becomes golden. Sprinkle with more nuts, raisins, and coconut and serve.
What dough is used for om Ali?
The bread pudding-like dessert, om Ali, may be prepared with different types of bread and pastry. In our recipe, we suggest using baked puff pastry as this gives the creamy dessert a bit of crunch. However, you can also use baked filo pastry, flatbread, brioche bread, palmiers, crescent rolls, white bread, croissants, or Khari biscuits (a traditional puff pastry biscuit). Since you can use stale bread that is past its prime, this dish is a great way to avoid throwing away old bread by instead giving it new life.
How long will om Ali last?
This om Ali dessert will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge stored in an airtight container. When you are ready to enjoy your leftover om Ali, reheat it in the oven at 150°C (regular oven) until it has been warmed through. It may be necessary to add a bit of milk or cream upon reheating it to keep it moist. As most recipes will recommend making the dessert fresh rather than making it ahead of time, you can also choose to prepare the different components (sweet milk, puff pastry, and chopped nuts) in advance and store them in the fridge for ease.


Puff pastry, squared
10 sheets
160 g
Egg, beaten
1200 ml
200 g
500 g
1 tbsp
1 tsp
Walnuts, chopped
100 g
160 g
Almonds, sliced
70 g
Aleppo pistachios, chopped
100 g
Roasted hazelnuts, chopped
120 g
Coconut flakes
75 g

Classic Middle Eastern umm Ali dessert

The Arabic dessert umm Ali is a sweet, flavourful bread pudding with warm spices and tasty nuts. When served warm, the gooey and slightly crunchy treat is beyond delicious. The warming spice and sweet ingredients used to make it result in an amazing aroma of Middle Eastern spices and sweetness spreading throughout your home as it bakes.

It is surprisingly easy and simple to make, and preparing the ingredients ahead of time and serving umm Ali fresh allows you to end your iftar dinner in a hassle-free way without compromising on freshness and flavour.

Umm Ali with puff pastry and cream

A traditional umm Ali is slightly crispy when freshly made. Even though the buttery, baked puff pastry is soaked with sweet milk, making the centre of the pieces soft and tender, the edges usually remain a bit crispy for a few hours after baking. The combination of soft and slightly crispy pastry, crunchy nuts, chewy raisins, and gooey broiled cream creates a puff pastry umm Ali with a lot of different textures that look great with its golden-brown surface with crunchy toppings.

Delicious baked dessert with Middle Eastern flavours

The cinnamon used to flavour the umm Ali sweet milk gives it a characteristic sweet-spicy flavour. The spice also gives the rich milk mixture made with sugar and butter a wonderful warming quality that pairs well with the milky flavour and richness of the cream. The other umm Ali ingredients – the coconut flakes, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and raisins – give the dessert a wonderful multi-faceted sweetness with nutty, earthy, and fruity flavours.

If this traditional umm Ali recipe with puff pastry has made you excited to look for more tasty, traditional desserts with great flavour, why not check out our recipes for kulaj, mafroukeh, and kunafa?

Add your own touch

Since there is no one recipe for umm Ali, you can experiment to create the best umm Ali recipe for you and your family by playing around with different spices like zesty cardamom, earthy and floral saffron, or warm-spicy cloves. The warm milk may also be flavoured with aromatics like orange blossom water or rosewater.

You might also like to try using, for example, sweet-tart dried cranberries or chopped, caramel-like dates instead of raisins or sprinkling the traditional bread pudding with chocolate chips before baking it for a rich, gooey, and surprising addition.