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Delicious Umm Ali Recipe – Traditional Egyptian Dessert

umm ali

Umm Ali, also known as Om Ali, is a delicious and indulgent dessert that originates from the Middle East. This creamy and comforting dish is a staple in many Arab households and has gained popularity worldwide. If you’re craving something sweet and satisfying, Umm Ali is the perfect treat to try. In this article, we will guide you through the process of making Umm Ali from scratch, providing you with all the necessary details to create this delectable dessert at home.



Umm Ali has a rich history that dates back centuries in the Middle East. Legend has it that this delectable dessert was first created during the time of the Mamluks, a medieval Islamic dynasty that ruled Egypt and the Levant. The story goes that Umm Ali was invented by a woman named Umm Ali, which translates to “Mother of Ali.” She was the first wife of an Egyptian ruler.

According to the tale, when Umm Ali’s husband passed away, there was a dispute over the inheritance of the throne. Umm Ali’s son, Ali, emerged victorious and was proclaimed the new ruler. In celebration of his victory, Umm Ali decided to create a special dessert to share with the people of the kingdom. She gathered the finest ingredients available, including crisp puff pastry, fragrant nuts, and aromatic spices.

Umm Ali’s dessert was a resounding success. It quickly became a favorite among the people and gained popularity across the region. The recipe was passed down from generation to generation, and today, Umm Ali is a beloved traditional dessert in many Middle Eastern countries.

The cultural significance of Umm Ali extends beyond its delicious taste. It is often served on special occasions and during festive gatherings, such as weddings and religious celebrations. The dessert holds a sentimental value for many families, as it is a reminder of their heritage and the love and care with which it was prepared.

Over time, Umm Ali has also gained international recognition. It has made its way into the menus of Middle Eastern restaurants around the world, delighting both locals and tourists alike. Its unique combination of flavors and textures has captured the hearts and taste buds of dessert enthusiasts everywhere.

Today, Umm Ali stands as a testament to the rich culinary traditions of the Middle East. It represents the heritage and cultural diversity of the region, inviting people from different backgrounds to come together and savor its irresistible sweetness. Whether enjoyed in the comfort of a family home or at a bustling restaurant, Umm Ali continues to bring joy and satisfaction to those who indulge in its decadence.


Preparation15 minutes
Baking the puff pastry25 minutes
Preparing the filling10 minutes
Assembling the dessert5 minutes
Total55 minutes

Note: The above times are approximate and may vary depending on individual cooking preferences and equipment used.


2 sheets of puff pastry2 sheets
500 ml of whole milk500 ml
1/4 cup of sugar1/4 cup
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract1/2 teaspoon
Pinch of saltPinch
Ground cinnamon or saffron (optional)To taste
Chopped nuts (e.g., almonds or pistachios)To taste
RaisinsTo taste
Optional: sweetened condensed milk or shredded coconutTo taste

Note: The above quantities are based on a serving size for 2 people. Adjust the quantities accordingly if you need to serve more or fewer people.


Step 1: Baking the Puff Pastry

Place the puff pastry sheets on a baking tray and bake them in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until they turn golden brown and flaky. Once baked, remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool.

Step 2: Preparing the Filling

While the puff pastry is cooling, it’s time to prepare the delicious filling for Umm Ali.

Step 2.1: Heating the Milk

In a large saucepan, pour the whole milk and heat it over medium heat until it reaches a gentle simmer. Stir occasionally to prevent the milk from scorching.

Step 2.2: Adding the Flavors

Once the milk is simmering, add the sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Stir well to ensure that the sugar dissolves and the flavors are evenly distributed.

Step 2.3: Infusing the Milk

To enhance the flavor of the milk, you can add a sprinkle of ground cinnamon or a few strands of saffron. Stir gently and let the milk simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse.

Step 3: Assembling the Dessert

Now that the puff pastry has cooled and the milk filling is ready, it’s time to assemble the Umm Ali.

Step 3.1: Breaking the Puff Pastry

Break the baked puff pastry into medium-sized pieces and place them in a greased baking dish or individual serving bowls. Ensure that the pieces are evenly distributed.

Step 3.2: Pouring the Milk Mixture

Carefully pour the prepared milk mixture over the puff pastry pieces in the baking dish, ensuring that all the pastry is soaked with the milk. Allow the mixture to seep into the layers, creating a creamy and moist texture.

Step 3.3: Adding the Nuts and Raisins

Sprinkle a generous amount of chopped nuts, such as almonds or pistachios, and raisins over the milk-soaked puff pastry. These toppings add a delightful crunch and a burst of sweetness to the dessert.

Step 3.4: Optional Sweet Additions

For an extra touch of indulgence, you can also add a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk or a sprinkle of shredded coconut on top. These optional additions elevate the flavor profile and texture of Umm Ali.

Equipment Required

Nutrition Information

Nutrition InformationAmount Per Serving
Serving Size1 person
Calories400 calories
Total Fat22g
– Saturated Fat11g
Total Carbohydrate45g
– Dietary Fiber2g
– Sugars20g

Please note that the provided nutrition information is an estimate and can vary based on the specific ingredients and brands used.


  • Use high-quality puff pastry: Opt for good quality puff pastry as it will greatly affect the final texture and taste of Umm Ali. Look for puff pastry that is light, flaky, and made with butter for the best results.
  • Thaw puff pastry properly: If using frozen puff pastry, make sure to thaw it according to the package instructions before baking. Improperly thawed pastry may affect its texture and result in uneven baking.
  • Customize the flavors: Umm Ali is a versatile dessert, and you can experiment with different flavors to suit your taste. Consider adding a dash of rose water or orange blossom water to the milk mixture for a fragrant twist.
  • Toast the nuts: Toasting the nuts before adding them to Umm Ali enhances their flavor and adds a delightful crunch. Simply heat a dry pan over medium heat, add the nuts, and toast them until they turn golden brown and fragrant. Be sure to let them cool before using.
  • Serve with a scoop of ice cream: For an extra indulgence, serve Umm Ali with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The combination of warm, creamy Umm Ali with cold, creamy ice cream creates a delightful contrast of temperatures and textures.

Pros & Cons

✔️ Delicious and indulgent dessert❌ High in calories and fat
✔️ Rich and creamy texture❌ Contains refined sugar
✔️ Cultural and historical significance❌ Not suitable for those with nut allergies
✔️ Customizable flavors and toppings❌ Requires baking and preparation time
✔️ Can be served warm or chilled❌ May not be suitable for lactose-intolerant individuals


In conclusion, Umm Ali is a delightful and irresistible dessert that brings together the richness of Middle Eastern flavors and the comfort of a creamy, indulgent treat. With its fascinating history and cultural significance, Umm Ali is not just a dessert but a connection to the traditions and heritage of the Middle East.

This recipe offers a simple yet satisfying way to create Umm Ali in your own kitchen. The combination of flaky puff pastry, infused milk, aromatic spices, and crunchy nuts creates a symphony of textures and flavors that will captivate your taste buds. Whether you serve it warm or chilled, Umm Ali is a dessert that is meant to be savored and shared with loved ones.

While Umm Ali may not be the lightest of desserts, indulging in its velvety goodness is a treat worth experiencing. It’s a dessert that brings people together, creating moments of joy and connection around the dining table. So why not gather your loved ones, embark on a culinary adventure, and immerse yourself in the world of Umm Ali?

Give this recipe a try, and you’ll be rewarded with a sweet and satisfying dessert that will transport you to the vibrant streets of the Middle East. Don’t be afraid to put your own twist on it, adding your favorite flavors and toppings to make it truly your own.

Get ready to delight in every spoonful, as Umm Ali becomes a cherished addition to your dessert repertoire. The memories you create while enjoying this traditional Middle Eastern delicacy will last a lifetime. So, roll up your sleeves, embrace the aroma of baking pastry, and embark on a journey of flavors with Umm Ali.


  • 1. The Dessert Fit for Royalty 👑
    • Did you know that Umm Ali is believed to have been created for a royal celebration? Legend has it that it was prepared to commemorate the victory of a ruler’s son, making it a dessert fit for royalty!
  • 2. Umm Ali’s Sweet Rivalries 🥇🥈
    • Umm Ali has become so beloved that it has sparked friendly dessert rivalries among Middle Eastern countries. Egypt, Bahrain, and Oman all claim to have the most authentic and delicious version of Umm Ali, adding a touch of sweet competition to its rich history.
  • 3. The Pastry with a Thousand Layers 🥐
    • Puff pastry, a key ingredient in Umm Ali, is known for its flaky and buttery layers. In fact, traditional puff pastry can have up to 1,000 individual layers! Each layer contributes to the pastry’s delicate texture, making it the perfect foundation for Umm Ali’s decadence.
  • 4. Umm Ali’s Sweet Escape 🌍✈️
    • Umm Ali’s popularity has transcended borders, becoming a favorite dessert not only in the Middle East but also in other parts of the world. It has found its way onto the menus of international restaurants, allowing people from different cultures to indulge in its irresistible sweetness.
  • 5. Umm Ali: The Heirloom Recipe 📜🥣
    • Umm Ali is often a treasured heirloom recipe passed down through generations within families. The secret techniques and variations are lovingly shared from mothers to daughters, ensuring that this delectable dessert remains a part of family traditions and brings joy for years to come.


Can I make Umm Ali in advance and store it?

Yes, you can make Umm Ali in advance and store it in the refrigerator. However, note that the puff pastry may lose some of its crispness over time. Reheat it gently in the oven or microwave before serving.

Can I use ready-made custard instead of making the milk mixture from scratch?

While the traditional Umm Ali recipe calls for a milk mixture, you can use ready-made custard as a convenient alternative. Just ensure that the custard has a smooth consistency and adjust the sweetness accordingly.

Can I freeze Umm Ali for later consumption?

It is not recommended to freeze Umm Ali, as freezing can affect the texture and overall quality of the dish. It is best enjoyed fresh or stored in the refrigerator for a day or two.

Can I substitute the puff pastry with another type of pastry?

While puff pastry works best for Umm Ali, you can experiment with other types of pastry such as croissant dough or phyllo pastry. Keep in mind that the texture and flavor may vary.

Can I use skim milk instead of whole milk?

Whole milk is recommended for Umm Ali as it contributes to the rich and creamy texture of the dessert. Skim milk may result in a less indulgent final product.

Can I make Umm Ali without nuts or raisins?

Absolutely! You can omit the nuts or raisins if you have allergies or personal preferences. Umm Ali is versatile, and you can customize it with your favorite toppings or add-ins.

Can I reheat leftover Umm Ali?

Yes, you can reheat leftover Umm Ali in the oven or microwave. Be sure to cover it with foil to prevent it from drying out and reheat it gently until warm.

Can I use a dairy-free alternative for the milk in Umm Ali?

Yes, you can use dairy-free alternatives such as almond milk or coconut milk. Keep in mind that the flavor and texture may differ slightly from the traditional version.

Can I add fruits to Umm Ali?

Absolutely! Umm Ali can be enhanced with the addition of fruits such as sliced bananas, chopped apples, or dried fruits like dates or figs. Get creative and add your favorite fruits for added flavor and texture.

Can I reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe?

Yes, you can adjust the amount of sugar to suit your taste. Start with a smaller quantity and gradually add more if desired. Remember, Umm Ali is meant to be sweet, but you have the flexibility to customize the sweetness level to your liking.