Om Ali (Egyptian Bread Pudding)

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Om Ali or Umm Ali is the Egyptian equivalent to the western bread pudding. A traditional Egyptian dessert of soaked bread, milk, and loads of nuts.
This Om Ali is such a comforting dessert, and it’s perfect for the cooler weather. It’s creamy, sweet, and so easy to make! Serve it hot or cold, it’s delicious either way.

What Is Om Ali?

What is it, though? Om Ali is known under several names, including Om Ali, um Ali, umm Ali, oumm Ali, and omali (meaning “Mother of Ali”).
It refers to an Egyptian “bread pudding” traditionally made with pastry (or bread), pistachios, raisins, coconut flakes/shreds, and a sweet milk (and often cream) mixture. After assembling, the Egyptian dessert is baked until golden brown.
It’s similar to British “bread pudding,” but with no eggs, meaning it’s lighter and looser (not “set”) in texture rather than thick and custardy.

Origin Of This Egyptian Bread Pudding

Om Ali is the national dessert of Egypt. It’s typically made with rooa which is an Egyptian flatbread. If you live in the Middle East, it’s easy enough to find it, but I understand that not everyone will have access to this ingredient. So instead, you can use good old croissants because they are so buttery, flakey, and delicious.

Om Ali translates to Ali’s mother in Arabic. And yes that’s a strange name for a dessert.  Legend has it that Om Ali was the first wife of the sultan Ezz El Din Aybek. When the sultan died, his second wife had a dispute with Om Ali, resulting in the second wife’s death. To celebrate, Om Ali made this dessert and distributed it among the people of the land. Wonderful history, wonderful meal.

Moms have always made the best food ever, and it’s been proven by this dessert named after a mother. 

How To Make Om Ali

Here is what you’ll need;

  • Croissants: Traditionally Om Ali is made with an Egyptian flatbread called roaa, phyllo, or puff pastry. But I decided to go the croissant route because it’s easier to find and it’s so delicious too!
  • Milk: For best results, I recommend using full cream milk, but you can use any percentage you prefer. However, the texture of the pudding may change.
  • Heavy cream: Used twice in the recipe, once for milk the mixture and second for the topping of the bread pudding. A note on heavy cream: Traditionally the recipe calls for eshta balady, which is a clotted cream. So if you can source some, that’s great! But whipped cream does the job very well too.
  • Sugar: I use white granulated sugar but you could also use brown sugar.
  • Cinnamon Powder: Traditionally cardamom powder is used, you can use cinnamon powder. Both do well in this recipe and add a delicious warmth to the overall flavor of the recipe.
  • Slivered Pistachios: Lots of dry fruits go into umm Ali, but my family doesn’t like them, so I used slivered pistachios only for the topping.

To make, here is the step-by-step procedure;

  1. Toast the Croissants: Tear the croissants into rough pieces, and bake for 5 minutes or so at 200c.
  2. Make the Milk Mixture: Combine milk, sugar, heavy cream, and cinnamon powder in a pot. Stir, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
  3. Assemble: Place the croissants on a skillet in a single layer. I use a 10-inch cast-iron skillet for this recipe.
  4. Pour the hot milk mixture over the croissants.
  5. Top with whipped cream, and spread it evenly all over the surface of the pudding. You could also use eshat balady (clotted cream) for the topping, or even cool whip.
  6. Bake: Broil the om Ali for about 2-3 minutes or until the whipped cream is golden brown and has caramelized. Remove from the oven and garnish with slivered pistachios.


To Add Nuts or Not?

Traditionally, there are nuts and raisins added to this pudding, but I don’t like the texture (especially raisins) so what I do is just topped the bread pudding once it’s been baked. However, you may increase the quantity of the nuts, and add them to the bread pudding too.

Can I Substitute the Croissants?

Yes, traditionally an Egyptian flatbread called roaa is used for this recipe. You can also substitute with bread, puff pastry, or even palmiers.

Do you Need to Refrigerate Bread Pudding?

Bread pudding leftovers need to be refrigerated as it contains milk. The ratio of milk to bread is higher than in cakes so this cannot be left out.

What Can I Add to Bread Pudding?

Bread pudding can be a vehicle for much more than nuts and raisins. Although this is the tradition for the Egyptian bread pudding be creative. Think chopped apples, pears, dried fruits, chocolate chips, toffee bits, and so on.

How To Make Ahead and Store

Make ahead: The texture of the assembled Om Ali will change the longer it sits, so I don’t recommend preparing it ahead if you want optimal texture. However, you could prepare the crispy pastry and combined milk mixture in advance. Then, when you’re ready to bake the om Ali, just reheat the milk, assemble, and bake!

Store: The bread pudding will have the crispiest texture within the first hour or two after baking. However, feel free to allow it to cool and then store it in an airtight container, covered, in the refrigerator for an additional 1-2 days. It will thicken/soften as it sits and can then be enjoyed cold or reheated.

Reheat: you can either reheat individual servings in the microwave (1-2 minutes usually) or place the entire dish back in the oven until heated through. Broil the topping once more to bring back a little crisp texture.

This is such a quick and easy dessert to make, that would be perfect for a nice cozy night in or even a party. Enjoy with more hot sweetened milk on the side. It’s one of those things that disappear quickly from the dessert table. I hope you enjoy this unique bread pudding!

Om Ali (Egyptian Bread Pudding) 

Om Ali/Umm Ali (Egyptian Bread Pudding) is a classic Egyptian recipe made with bread or pastry soaked in sweetened milk and mixed with nuts and shredded coconut. It's a crispy, crunchy, sweet, creamy, moreish Egyptian dessert!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Middle Eastern, Moroccan
Servings 6
Calories 309.9 kcal


  • 1 (17.5 ounces) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar, divided
  • 4 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish. Place the pastry sheets in the baking dish and place the dish in the oven.
  • Watch it closely. When the top layer turns crunchy and golden, remove it from the oven. Continue until all the sheets are cooked.
  • Preheat the oven's broiler.
  • In a bowl, combine walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, raisins, coconut, and 1/4 cup sugar. Break cooked pastry into pieces and stir into nut mixture. Spread mixture evenly in a 9x13-inch dish.
  • Bring milk and 1/2 cup sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Pour over nut mixture.
  • Beat the heavy cream with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread evenly over nut mixture in dish.
  • Place dessert under oven broiler until top is golden brown, about 10 minutes.
  • Serve hot.


Calories: 309.9kcal
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