Umm Ali ~ Egyptian Dessert

PinI am pleased to inform that I am hosting the Home Baker’s Challenge for the month of May. A heartfelt thank you going out to Priya akka for giving me the opportunity to host this lovely challenge. The first challenge was pizza, and from then on we have had some wonderful challenges with healthy participation. To have a look at what all I have cooked up as a part of this challenge, you can check it out here.After having some months of only-sweet challenges, I provided participants with a list of Arabic bakes, three savoury and three sweet dishes to enjoy baking and eating, of course!!! It was not easy for me to put up the list, as even though I eat Arabic food quite a lot from out, cooking them was something new to me and I wanted to make this as a base to start my exploration. The three savoury dishes were Spinach Fatayer, Manakesh Zaatar and Mushroom Spinach Cigar Rolls. The three sweet bakes were Umm Ali, Arabic Date Walnut Cake and Lebanese Sesame Cookies. I hope that the members would have enjoyed the challenge as much as I loved putting the recipes together and hosting it, as well!!!


As usual, to do justice to my blog name, I went for a sweet bake and Umm Ali, it had to be! There is a lot of history regarding this dessert, which basically translates as “Mother of Ali”. I wouldn’t want to dwell about it because irrespective of history, this is one dessert that I just love to the core. Each time we go for an oriental buffet, I am always in for almost half a plate of Umm Ali. There are so many variations of Umm Ali, but basically it’s a bread based dessert, loaded with goodness of nuts and coconut, baked after literally soaking it in spiced sugary milk. Get the gyst??? If you want to read more about the history of this yummilicious dessert, you can just click on the link from where I adapted the recipe from and enjoy reading it.


I made a batch which was quite enough for a big gang, so could go into the group of make-ahead desserts for any party. Since it is to be served warm, you can do each step in advance, and just bake it a hour before the meal is about to end. I packed almost half of it for my HD’s gang, who appreciated it as a “different” dessert. Remaining was faithfully finished off by all at home. Actually speaking, with the overload of nuts, I guess it can be had as a meal in itself!!! Hehe…. My new glass dish from IKEA was utilized very effectively as it was nice and deep enough to accomodate all the puff pastry and the milk. Moving on to how I made this dessert.Β Recipe adapted from here



Rasha couldn’t wait to have her share!





Umm Ali ~ Egyptian Dessert

Course Dessert
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6 -8
Author Rafeeda


  • 400 gm pack of puff pastry sheets
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1/4 cup pine seeds*
  • 1/2 cup cashew-nuts
  • 1/2 cup sultanas
  • 1/4 cup coconut grated
  • 500 ml pack whipping cream
  • 150 ml full fat milk
  • 150 ml water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder


  • Cook the puff pastry sheets till crisp, as per pack instructions. I baked the pasty sheets in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool on a rack.
  • Meanwhile, roast the nuts (almonds to cashewnuts) in the hot oven for around 5 minutes.
  • Cool. Put the nuts into a bag and crush using a rolling pin till it breaks into bits - do not powder!
  • In a saucepan, combine the whipping cream, milk, water, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and bring to heat. Keep stirring till the sugar is melted - no need to boil, it just needs to warm. Switch off the flame.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees for around 10 minutes (the oven may already be warm from the previous puff pastry cooking).
  • In a deep glass dish, crush the puff pastry.
  • Add the crushed nuts, coconut and sultanas and mix well till evenly distributed.
  • Slowly pour the sweetened milk all over the puff pastry. Bake for 30 minutes till top is golden.
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm!!!


You can replace the puff pastry with many many other options - croissants, baked bread, Millefoglie puff pastry biscuits, even cornflakes! But I assure you that puff pastry takes the dish to another level.
Adjust sugar to your requirements. 1 cup sugar was a tad on the higher side for us, just a tad...
The milk mixture is your choice - you can use a mixture of milk and condensed milk, without using the sugar. Or you can even use just milk and sugar.
I really wanted to add 1/4 tsp of cinnamon powder as well, but just missed out! Would have given a lovely flavor...
I missed to use pine nuts!!! This is a nut used in almost all Arabic baking, whether sweet or savory. Though it was not missed much as there was enough of crunch in the dessert, I would have loved to add it to give it a more authentic feel.

Join the Conversation

  1. thanks for introducing us to a new dessert.. its an interesting one with lots of nuts going into it.. I am sure Rasha would have loved it …

    1. Thank you so much Smitha…

  2. Umm Ali, i love it to the core sis, looks soo irresistible, can guess how Rasha loved her share from the pic itself.. Thanks for giving us fabulous Arabic bakes as this month's challenge, loving it.

    1. It was a pleasure hosting this month's challenge, akka… thank you so much…

  3. sweet s calling me badly , lovely recipe first time hearing. and could see your daughter enjoyment

    1. Thank you so much Aparna…

  4. Was going through your blog.. Love the recipes .. Umm ali is one of my fav. desserts too.. πŸ™‚ This looks yum !!!

    1. Thank you so much Najla for coming by… πŸ™‚

  5. This looks so delicious! One of my favourite it!

    1. Thank you so much Priya…

  6. Never heard about this Arabian dish:) I m sure little one would have enjoyed it.

    1. Thank you so much Vandana… we all enjoyed it… πŸ™‚

  7. This is in my to-do list, since i saw this in blog of priya suresh!! Love your version too!!

    1. There are so many ways of making it dear… this is a more prevalent way… thanks a lot Aara…

  8. Awesome….love the recipe, pictures and styling….all in all yummylicious post…..

    1. Thank you so much dear Lubna… your comment made my day!

  9. Hey something new…must be yummy

    1. Thank you so much Amrita…

  10. Mmmm…that looks delicious going to try this out soon

    1. Thank you so much Kaveri…

  11. lovely dessert. Yumm..

    1. Thank you so much Lisha…

  12. This is somethinng I got to try soon..looks delicious…

    1. Thank you so much Gloria…

  13. Wow this is new to me and it looks mouth-watering! Would love to try it…

    1. Thank you so much Kanak…

  14. Sounds interesting and looks delicious too!

    1. Thank you so much Beulah…

  15. looks delicious dear……. puff pastry ivide kitilla… allenkil ithonnu try cheythene…… love your photos

    1. Thank you so much Femi…

  16. Looks so delicious and your daughter proves it too πŸ™‚ would love to participate Rafee will try and squeeze in. Happy hosting and lovely pick of recipes.

    1. Would really be happy if you be a part of it Priya… thanks a lot dear… πŸ™‚

  17. Looks very delicious…wish I could have some:)

    1. Thank you so much Ree… πŸ™‚

  18. This is an interesting recipe…very much new to me.. never heard of….Looks utterly delicious

    1. Thank you so much Preetha chechi…

  19. Rafeeda thank you for sharing this recipe. I had it last year during our stop over in Doha and loved it. Will definitely make it.

    1. Thank you so much Mayuri…

  20. this looks absolutely mouthwatering….good 1

    1. Thank you so much Anupa…

  21. Delicious dessert..

    1. Thank you so much Rumana…

  22. Perfect dessert for kids and party. Loved the pictures.

    1. Thank you so much Savitha…

  23. thanks for the wonderful recipe suggestion, linked my entry!!!

    1. Thank you so much Sangeetha…

  24. Yummy dessert….looks inviting…

    1. Thank you so much Anu…

  25. Interesting recipe.. will try it sometime.

    1. Thank you so much Shobha…

  26. yet to try this.. looks superr.. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much Laxmi… πŸ™‚

  27. Umm Ali looks amazing. I wanted to make it, but didn't get a chance. Will definitely try it some other time.
    Thank you for picking these delicious Arabic bakes. Loved baking & eating the Honey & Date Cake.

    1. Thank you so much for coming around and participating dear… good to know you enjoyed your bake…

  28. Delicious dessert, looks very yummy.. Will try this too soon πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much Sona… πŸ™‚

  29. Wow, Rafeeda, looks awesome and those arabic dishes all sound too good. I'm not part of the challenge as I may not always be able to do justice to the group, but i wanna try all those dishes. Can you share the recipes with me ..pretty pleeeeeeeasssssse πŸ˜€

    1. Yes for sure… will send them 2 u 2 try in ur leisure time Manju… thanks a lot dear… πŸ™‚

  30. I wanted to check out the recipe since I saw your post on fb, but got around it only now… I have never tasted it but sounds divine. Loved the picture too Rafeeda!!

    1. Thank you so much Shibi…

  31. hi rafeeda

    so beautiful amazed dessert thanks a lots for sharing it it tasted amazing and totally loved it πŸ™‚ visit my blog when u r free awaiting to hear it from u πŸ™‚

    1. Yes Achu… will definitely come by n check out… so good to know u loved it… thanks a lot dear… πŸ™‚

  32. it is damn tempting n eager to try…sure vl do it one day when d complete ings r in handy..

    1. Thank you so much Usha…

  33. you are the dessert queen. so many varieties. this is one very new recipe to me.

    1. Thank you so much Sayantani…

  34. this looks so tempting n delicious dear..never tasted this before but looks a must try πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, it is definitely a must-try… thanks a lot, Julie… πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much Jaleelajee…

  35. delicious and all time fav.

    1. Thank you so much Ruxana…

  36. Oh how I love this dessert. ..can't express in words. Its so very favorite of mine
    Never made it at home. ..will try out once.

    1. Thank you so much dears…

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