Umm Ali is a traditional Egyptian dessert similar to bread pudding, without the eggs. Dessert is my favorite part of any meal. If it was up to me, I would eat dessert first. I'm always on the search for new dessert recipes to try.
Umm Ali is a favorite of mine. I love how I can make it from whatever I have in my fridge and pantry. This delightful dessert is made with bread or puff pastry, milk and cream, nuts, shredded coconut, and raisins. You can either serve it warm or cold. The reason why I love making it is because you can customize it to your preference.
Umm Ali translates to Ali's mother. The funny thing is this dessert has so many stories behind it. Some say it has a violent history. The wives of a Sultan were fighting over whose son will be next to rule. The first wife, Umm Ali, plotted to kill the second wife of the Sultan. Umm Ali made this dessert to celebrate the death of the second wife after her plot worked! I have to say, Umm Ali had a dark side to her.
The second version is a bit lighter and doesn't include anyone dying. Some say that a Sultan was out hunting near the Nile and he was hungry. The town called for their best cook, Umm Ali, to make a meal for the Sultan. She made it out of what she had in her home. The Sultan fell in love with the dessert and went back for more. And that's how the dessert got its name.
Whether you believe the first or second story, you need to try making this dessert!
This dessert is usually served warm and is filled with all types of nuts!
Let me warn you, it's very, very filling. This is not something you can enjoy after having a heavy dinner. When I eat it, I feel like it's a meal on it's own!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
1 loaf brioche bread (about 1 lb)
4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup raw pistachios
1/4 cup almonds (slices or slivers)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup coconut (shredded or chips)
1) Preheat your oven to 400*F.
2) In a medium sized pot on medium heat, combine milk, heavy cream, and sugar. Heat the milk mixture until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the cinnamon.
3) Using your hands, tear up the bread and place in a 9"x13" baking dish.
4) Distribute the raisins, pistachios, almonds, walnuts, and coconut chips evenly.
5) Drench the entire baking dish contents with the milk mixture. Let sit for about 5 minutes, to allow the bread to soak up the milk.
6) Bake the bread pudding for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the milk is bubbling.
7) Remove from the oven and let it cool.
8) Scoop the bread pudding into serving bowls and enjoy!
- I love making this with the brioche bread from Trader Joe's, but really any bread works. Brioche is already sweet, so it's perfect for this dessert.
- If you're using sweetened coconut, I would use less sugar in the milk mixture. You don't want the dish to be overwhelmingly sweet.
- I love to add cinnamon to the milk because I enjoy the flavor. If you're not a fan, feel free to omit it.
- Feel free to add or omit any nuts and toppings you choose. This dish is wonderful that way. Make it your own!