A different kind of bread pudding

Anybody visiting an Arab country and having been invited to an Arab family or to an Arabic buffet will probably have come across Umm Ali.

Umm Ali (translated: Mother of Ali) is an Egyptian bread pudding, not to be mixed up with English bread pudding. This scrumptious dessert can be a bit of a calory bomb depending on the ingredientst that are used.

The origin of “Umm Ali”

There are different stories about the origin of Umm Ali. One of them involves a Sultan, who became very hungry during a hunting trip in Egypt.

The hunting party stopped at a nearby village for food. The locals presented their best cook to the Sultan. Umm‘Ali was chosen to cook for the Sultan and the hunters. However, the villagers were very poor, so Umm Ali had to create a meal with the few ingredients they had. She mixed pieces of stale bread with bits of nuts and different spices with milk and sugar in a large pan and put it in the oven. To everybody’s surprise the Sultan liked It so much that he went back to village again and again. The dessert became known by the name of the cook “Umm Ali”.

So if you are offered an Umm Ali bread pudding during a visit in an Arab country, you should try it. The contrast between the creamy bread pudding and the crunchy nuts together with spices like cinnamon and cardamom makes the dessert irresistible whether you eat it warm or cold.

Different ingredients for Umm Ali

For the recipe of Umm Ali you can choose a nut mix of your taste.  For the base you can choose between bread, puff pastry,  filo pastry or even croissants. 

Below is one variation of the Umm Ali.


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