How Do You Prepare Umm Ali, The Egyptian Bread Pudding?

Imagine indulging in a warm and comforting dessert that has been enjoyed by Egyptians for centuries – Umm Ali, the delicious Egyptian bread pudding. This delightful treat is a combination of flaky pastry, creamy custard, and aromatic spices, resulting in a dessert that is both rich and satisfying. Whether you are a novice in the kitchen or a seasoned chef, this article will guide you through the simple steps to prepare this mouthwatering dessert, ensuring that you can impress your friends and family with a taste of Egypt in the comfort of your own home. So, tie your apron and get ready to embark on a culinary adventure as we unlock the secrets of Umm Ali.

How Do You Prepare Umm Ali, The Egyptian Bread Pudding?


To make Umm Ali, the delicious Egyptian bread pudding, you will need the following ingredients:

Phyllo dough

Phyllo dough, also known as filo dough, is a paper-thin pastry that is perfect for creating the flaky layers in Umm Ali. It adds a delicate and crunchy texture to the dessert.


Milk is a key ingredient in the custard that makes up the creamy base of Umm Ali. Choose whole milk for a rich and velvety texture, but low-fat milk can also be used if desired.


Cream is another crucial component of the custard. Its rich and smooth consistency adds a lusciousness to Umm Ali that is simply irresistible.


Sugar provides the necessary sweetness to balance out the flavors in Umm Ali. You can adjust the amount of sugar based on your personal preference, but be careful not to make it overly sweet.


Nuts, such as almonds or pistachios, are commonly used in Umm Ali to add crunch and a nutty flavor. Toasting the nuts before adding them to the dessert enhances their taste and brings out their aroma.


Raisins are a traditional ingredient in Umm Ali, providing bursts of sweetness and chewiness. They add a delightful texture to the pudding and complement the flavors of the other ingredients.

Coconut flakes

Coconut flakes are an optional but delightful addition to Umm Ali. They add a tropical touch and a hint of sweetness. Toasting the coconut flakes before incorporating them into the dessert highlights their nutty flavor.

Vanilla extract

A touch of vanilla extract enhances the overall taste of Umm Ali, adding a subtle yet delightful aroma. It elevates the flavors of the custard and complements the other ingredients perfectly.

Now that you have gathered all the necessary ingredients, it’s time to move on to the preparation process!

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To make a delicious Umm Ali, the following steps need to be followed:

Step 1: Preheat the oven

Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C). This will ensure that your Umm Ali bakes evenly and achieves the perfect golden brown color.

Step 2: Prepare the phyllo dough

Next, prepare the phyllo dough by cutting or tearing it into small, bite-sized pieces. This allows for easy layering and ensures that every spoonful of Umm Ali is packed with the crisp and flaky goodness of phyllo dough.

Step 3: Make the custard

To create the luscious custard, heat the milk and cream in a saucepan over medium heat until it reaches a gentle simmer. Add sugar and vanilla extract, stirring until the sugar has dissolved completely.

Step 4: Assemble the pudding

In a baking dish, layer the prepared phyllo dough pieces, raisins, and nuts. Pour the hot custard evenly over the layers, making sure to soak the phyllo dough thoroughly. Gently press down on the layers to ensure everything is compact.

Step 5: Bake the pudding

Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top of the Umm Ali turns golden brown and the custard is set. Keep an eye on it while baking to avoid burning.

Step 6: Garnish and serve

Once the Umm Ali is out of the oven, garnish it with toasted nuts, coconut flakes, and extra raisins. This adds a beautiful finishing touch and additional flavors to the dessert. Serve the Umm Ali warm and enjoy!

Detailed Steps

Let’s take a closer look at each step required to prepare Umm Ali:

Step 1: Preheat the oven

Preheating the oven is essential to ensure your Umm Ali bakes evenly. Set the temperature to 350°F (175°C) and allow the oven to preheat while you prepare the other ingredients.

Step 2: Prepare the phyllo dough

Take the phyllo dough and either cut it into small pieces using a sharp knife or tear it into bite-sized strips with your hands. This will make the layering process much easier and result in a better distribution of dough throughout the pudding.

Step 3: Make the custard

In a saucepan, combine the milk and cream and gently heat the mixture over medium heat until it begins to simmer. Stir the mixture occasionally to prevent scorching. Once simmering, add the sugar and vanilla extract, stirring until the sugar dissolves completely.

Step 4: Assemble the pudding

Take a baking dish and start by adding a layer of the prepared phyllo dough pieces. Sprinkle raisins and nuts over the phyllo dough, ensuring an even distribution. Continue layering the phyllo dough, raisins, and nuts until you have used up all the ingredients or reached your desired depth.

Step 5: Bake the pudding

Carefully pour the hot custard over the layered ingredients in the baking dish. Use a spoon or spatula to press down gently on the layers, allowing the custard to soak into the phyllo dough. This step ensures that every bite of Umm Ali is moist and full of flavor.

Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top of the Umm Ali turns a beautiful golden brown color and the custard is set. It’s important to keep an eye on the pudding while it bakes to prevent any burning or overcooking.

Step 6: Garnish and serve

Once the Umm Ali is out of the oven, it’s time to add the finishing touches. Sprinkle toasted nuts, coconut flakes, and extra raisins over the top of the pudding. These garnishes not only enhance the visual appeal but also provide additional flavors and textures to the dessert.

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Serve the Umm Ali warm and enjoy the heavenly combination of creamy custard, flaky phyllo dough, crunchy nuts, and chewy raisins. It’s the perfect treat for any occasion!


While the traditional Umm Ali recipe is already a delight on its own, you can also experiment with different variations to explore new flavors and textures. Here are a few creative variations you can try:

Chocolate Umm Ali

For a decadent twist, add some chocolate to your Umm Ali recipe. You can incorporate cocoa powder into the custard or even add chocolate chips between the layers. The result is a rich and chocolatey dessert that will satisfy any chocolate lover’s cravings.

Nutella Umm Ali

If you’re a fan of the popular hazelnut spread Nutella, why not incorporate it into your Umm Ali? Swirl Nutella into the custard or melt it and drizzle it over the top of the pudding before serving. It adds a delightful hazelnut flavor and a touch of indulgence to the traditional recipe.

Coconut Umm Ali

If you enjoy the tropical flavors of coconut, you can create a coconut-themed Umm Ali by using coconut milk instead of regular milk. Toasted coconut flakes can also be added between the layers to enhance the coconut aroma and taste. This variation offers a refreshing twist to the classic recipe.

Feel free to get creative and adapt Umm Ali to your own taste preferences. The possibilities are endless!

How Do You Prepare Umm Ali, The Egyptian Bread Pudding?


To enhance your Umm Ali-making experience and create the most delicious dessert possible, here are a few helpful tips:

Use stale bread for a denser texture

Traditionally, Umm Ali is made with stale or day-old bread. This adds a denser texture to the dessert and helps it hold together better. If you don’t have stale bread, you can lightly toast fresh bread slices to achieve a similar effect.

Toast the nuts for extra flavor

Toasting the nuts before adding them to Umm Ali brings out their natural oils and intensifies their flavor. Simply place the nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat and stir them occasionally until they turn golden brown and become fragrant. Let them cool before using them in the recipe.

Serve with ice cream for a delightful contrast

For an extra indulgent treat, serve your Umm Ali with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. The cold and creamy nature of the ice cream provides a delightful contrast to the warm and comforting Umm Ali. It’s a match made in dessert heaven!

Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days

Umm Ali can be enjoyed both warm and chilled. If you have any leftovers, simply cover the baking dish with plastic wrap or transfer individual servings to airtight containers and refrigerate. Umm Ali will stay fresh for up to three days in the fridge, allowing you to savor its deliciousness over multiple servings.


Origin of Umm Ali

Umm Ali, meaning “Mother of Ali” in Arabic, is a traditional Egyptian dessert that has been enjoyed for centuries. According to popular belief, Umm Ali was first created during the time of the Ayyubid dynasty in Egypt. Legend has it that after the sultan’s death, a celebration was held, during which a royal cook created this incredible dessert to share with the community.

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The dessert quickly gained popularity and became associated with special occasions and celebrations in Egyptian culture. It was named Umm Ali as a symbol of gratitude and respect for the sultan’s mother, who was believed to have inspired its creation.

Traditional Egyptian dessert

Today, Umm Ali remains a beloved traditional dessert in Egypt and is often served during gatherings, festivals, and religious holidays. It is considered a symbol of generosity, hospitality, and the sharing of blessings within Egyptian culture.

Over the years, Umm Ali has also spread to other countries in the Middle East and has become a cherished dessert in many households around the world. Its rich history and cultural significance have contributed to its enduring popularity.

How Do You Prepare Umm Ali, The Egyptian Bread Pudding?

Health Benefits

While Umm Ali is undoubtedly a delectable indulgence, it also offers some health benefits when consumed in moderation. Here are a few health benefits associated with Umm Ali:

Good source of carbohydrates

Umm Ali provides a good amount of carbohydrates, making it an excellent energy source. Carbohydrates are essential for fueling the body and providing it with the energy it needs for day-to-day activities.

High in calcium

The combination of milk and cream in Umm Ali makes it a good source of calcium. Calcium is crucial for supporting healthy bones and teeth, as well as aiding in proper muscle and nerve function.

Rich in vitamins and minerals

Umm Ali contains various nuts, such as almonds or pistachios, which are packed with essential vitamins and minerals. These include vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium, which contribute to overall well-being and support various bodily functions.

While Umm Ali offers these health benefits, it’s important to enjoy it as part of a balanced diet and practice moderation, as it is still a dessert and should be consumed in moderation.

Cultural Significance

Served during celebrations and gatherings

Umm Ali holds great cultural significance in Egyptian cuisine and is often served during special occasions, celebrations, and family gatherings. It brings people together and adds a touch of sweetness to festive moments.

Symbol of generosity and hospitality in Egyptian culture

Umm Ali goes beyond being a simple dessert; it represents the spirit of generosity and hospitality deeply rooted in Egyptian culture. It is a gesture of sharing blessings with loved ones and creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Preparing and serving Umm Ali to family and friends is a way to show love, care, and respect. It brings joy and happiness to those who enjoy it, creating lasting memories and strengthening bonds.

How Do You Prepare Umm Ali, The Egyptian Bread Pudding?

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some commonly asked questions about Umm Ali:

Can I use a different type of bread?

While traditional Umm Ali is made with phyllo dough or puff pastry, you can experiment with different types of bread if you prefer. Some substitutes include croissants, brioche, or even day-old white bread. Each alternative will bring its own unique texture and flavor to the dessert.

Is Umm Ali vegan-friendly?

Umm Ali, as traditionally made, contains milk, cream, and nuts, making it unsuitable for a vegan diet. However, you can explore vegan-friendly alternatives by using plant-based milk substitutes, such as almond milk or coconut milk, and replace dairy cream with coconut cream or cashew cream. Nuts can still be included for their flavor and crunch.

How can I make Umm Ali gluten-free?

To make Umm Ali gluten-free, you can substitute the phyllo dough or puff pastry with gluten-free alternatives available in stores or make your own gluten-free pastry using rice flour or a gluten-free flour blend. Ensure that all other ingredients used are also gluten-free.

If you have any specific dietary requirements or restrictions, it’s always best to carefully read the labels of the ingredients used or consult with a healthcare professional or dietitian for guidance.


Umm Ali is a delightful Egyptian bread pudding with a rich history, cultural significance, and a heavenly taste. Its combination of flaky phyllo dough, creamy custard, toasted nuts, and chewy raisins creates a dessert that is truly unforgettable.

Whether enjoyed during a festive celebration or a casual gathering, Umm Ali brings people together, symbolizing generosity, love, and hospitality. With its variations, you can get creative and personalize the dessert to suit your taste preferences.

So, next time you’re looking to indulge in a dessert that has a touch of nostalgia and a flavor that transports you to the heart of Egypt, why not prepare Umm Ali? Gather the ingredients, follow the detailed steps, and enjoy the warmth and sweetness it brings. Umm Ali will surely become a favorite in your culinary repertoire, creating lasting memories for years to come.

How Do You Prepare Umm Ali, The Egyptian Bread Pudding?