Umm Ali

Literally means “Ali’s mother”, but it is actually an Egyptian bread and butter pudding.

Umm Ali  - an Egyptian bread and butter pudding (Source: stolen from
Umm Ali - an Egyptian bread and butter pudding (Source: stolen from

According to folklore, the pudding was invented when a ravenous sultan on a hunting trip passed through a small village in search of food. The best cook in the village (named Umm’Ali), eager to please this important visitor, combined the only ingredients she had around-some stale pastry, nuts, and coconut. She covered it with sugar and baked it in the oven. The sultan loved the dessert, and a tradition was born. (Source:

I fall in love with this desert the first time this delicious bread and butter pudding pass through taste sensors on my tounge. Since then it becomes one of my favorite Arabian dessert. Couple times I tried myself cooking and preparing Umm Ali, and can’t stop trying. Fortunately, Umm Ali is regularly served in Qatargas canteen during lunch time. So I can enjoy my favorite without any hassles of cooking.

Preparation and cooking steps are straight forward and easy to follow and complete by even the beginner.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 package of frozen puff pastry (17 ounces)
  • 1 15 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 3/4 cup pistachios, shelled, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cups coconut flakes (depending on taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 425 F. Unroll puff pastry sheets and place on greased baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes. You want the puff pastry to be golden and puffed. Remove from oven. Do not turn oven off; you will be using it in a few minutes with the same temp.

Break puff pastry into small pieces (about 1-2 inches. Add nuts and coconut and be sure that they are mixed well and evenly distributed. Place nuts and bread in greased 9×12 baking dish.

In a saucepan, heat sweetened milk, vanilla, and water on medium heat. Allow to cook for about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat then allow to cool.

Pour milk over puff pastry/nut mixture. Pour creme on top and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.

Serve warm.



3 thoughts on “Umm Ali”

  1. My fiancé is an Egyptian and he talks about this dessert ever since we met :). Doesn’t seem difficult to prepare. With your help I will be able to prepare it for him. Thank you.

  2. this is a very good recipe – perfect potluck dessert, can easily be made in large quantities. I add a little bit of rose esscence instead of vanilla, and skip the coconut.
    thank you!

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