Umm Ali

Today, I have a story, a story and a dessert. An easy, yummy, and fast desert. Great for entertaining or just an intimate dessert that can be ready in ten minutes. It is a middle eastern bread pudding called Umm Ali.

Legend has it that once the king of Egypt was out on a hunting trip. On the way he was hit by powerful hunger pangs. He stopped at a village and his courtiers went around looking for food fit for a king to eat. In that village there was a woman who was a great cook, the honour of feeding the king fell upon her. She had nothing fit for a king, for she was poor. She took some leftover bread, some nuts, milk, sugar and baked this dish of deliciousness. Needless to say it was well loved by the king.  The dish was named after the woman. She was Umm Ali (mother of ali) and so was the  dish. Interesting isn’t it… necessity is indeed the mother of invention.

There is another story, a more blood thirsty one. If you want to read it drop me a line and I’ll tell you :).

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Croissants – 15 – 20 (torn into small pieces)

Milk – 2 liters

Sugar – 3-5 tblsp (as per your taste)

Vanilla Essence – 1 tsp

Fresh Cream – 200 ml (beaten lightly)

Mixed assorted nuts – as per requirement

Butter – to butter the dish


Preheat an oven to 260 C.


Boil milk, sugar and vanilla essence. Keep aside.


Add all the croissant pieces to a baking dish and bake until well toasted. Keep aside.

Butter a baking dish.




Add one layer of croissant pieces, top with nuts. Repeat with another layer of croissant pieces and top with more nuts. Ladle the milk on top of the croissants till the croissants are soaked in milk. Top with beaten cream. Bake in a preheated oven @ 200 C for 10 mins or until top is golden.


Serve warm or cold.

I prefer it cold straight from the fridge, most people prefer it warm.

I am sure you have noticed this is a dish that permits a a lot of freedom. It is pretty much put in ingredients as you want. you want more custard like reduce amount of milk. If you want it with more milk well, pour more milk. You want chocolate umm ali use chocolate milk. You can use pita bread, puff pastry, filo pastry… It is so eminently customizable…

I hope you’ll make this in your house and let me know how it was.

Till we meet again..


11 thoughts on “Umm Ali

  1. Pingback: Recipe Index | anishathefoodie

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