Om Ali, also known as Egyptian bread pudding, is a classic Egyptian recipe made with bread or pastry pieces that have been soaked in sweetened milk and heavy cream before being baked to crisp, flakey deliciousness. Topped with toasted hazelnuts, coconut flakes, and raisins, it’s served warm and will have you licking your plate!
Origins of Om Ali?
Om Ali, sometimes also spelled Umm Ali, Um Ali, Oumm Ali, and Omali is essentially Egyptian bread pudding. When translated the name means Ali’s mother, really! The dessert can be traced all the way back to the 12th century, and the legend says that it is named after Sultan Ezz El Din Aybak’s wife.
There are countless stories as to how the dish got its name. For instance, some say that the sultan’s wife ordered cooks to make it for a holiday to celebrate the dynasty. Meanwhile, other food historians say that a random baker developed the recipe for the funeral of a Sultan after a coup.
No matter its origins, we are eternally grateful to whoever created the dessert! Take just one bite, and you’ll understand why!
Ingredients You’ll Need
Traditionally, Om Ali is composed of phyllo dough or puff pastry that is baked in sweet milk and topped with cream. However, for our version, we incorporate a slight twist by using croissants instead! Here’s everything you’ll need:
- Croissants – Similar to phyllo dough or puff pastry, these are made with laminated dough and are extremely easy to work with. The staler your bread the better as it will absorb more liquid! Or, feel free to use any kind of laminated dough or pastry you prefer.
- Whole Milk and Heavy Cream – These are combined to create a rich, creamy liquid used to coat the croissants.
- Sugar – Regular granulated sugar helps sweeten the milk mixture.
- Clotted Cream or Ashta – This is dolloped on top of the dessert for extra creaminess and a rich flavor.
- Vanilla Extract – Used to enhance the sweetness of the dish.
- Optional Toppings – Technically optional but highly recommended, we love to sprinkle shredded coconut, toasted hazelnuts, raisins, and almonds on top for extra texture and flavor.
How to Make Om Ali
Don’t be intimidated by its bakery-worthy appearance! Om Ali is simple to make.
- Prepare the Croissants.Slice the stale croissants into pieces, and arrange them in an even layer in the bottom of a 2-quart deep baking dish or dutch oven.
Note: Let your croissants sit out at room temperature for 1-2 days before making this recipe. Or, pop them in the oven at 300° Fahrenheit for 12-15 minutes to help dry them out.
- Coat the Croissants. In a bowl, whisk together the milk, heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Pour the liquid over the croissants.
- Dot. Dollop spoonfuls of the clotted cream on top of the coated croissants.
- Bake. Place the baking dish in the oven until the dessert is bubbly and the croissants are golden brown on top.
- Garnish. Sprinkle hazelnuts, almonds, raisins, and coconut flakes on top, and enjoy your om ali while it’s warm!
Add-Ins, and Variations
This Om Ali recipe is fairly simple, but you can easily experiment with different add-ins and variations to make the flavor your own! For example, some of our favorite options include:
- Spices – Adding a sprinkle of a warm spice like cinnamon or cardamom on top before baking helps elevate the flavor making it even more cozy and comforting.
- Fruit – For extra texture and more flavor, feel free to mix chopped or dried fruit like apples, pears, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries into the mixture.
- Chocolate – Everything tastes better with chocolate, right? Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Or, add a drizzle of chocolate sauce or homemade Nutella to make this dessert extra decadent.
- Honey – Add a drizzle on top for the perfect touch of extra sweetness.
- Ice Cream – The ultimate go-to for any bread pudding-like recipe, you can never go wrong with a good scoop of your favorite ice cream!
Om Ali tends to disappear fast and is best served right away while it’s still warm and the bread is crisp!
To Store: On the rare chance that you have leftovers, let them cool completely. Then, transfer them to an airtight container, and store them in the fridge for 3-5 days.
To Reheat: You can easily reheat individual servings for 1-2 minutes in the microwave. Or, place the whole baking dish back in the oven until it is heated through. For the best results, we recommend placing the dish under the broiler for the last minute or two to help the brad crisp back up!
More Bread Pudding-Inspired Desserts
If you enjoy this Om Ali recipe, you won’t want to miss out on more of our favorite bread pudding-inspired recipes!
- Salted Caramel Bread Pudding
- Panettone Bread Pudding with Pecan Pie Filling
- Tiramisu Bread Pudding
- Tres Leches Bread Pudding
Om Ali Recipe (Egyptian Bread Pudding)
- 6 large stale croissants (cubed*)
- 3 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 5 Tablespoons clotted cream or ashta
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Optional Toppings: 1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes (hazelnuts, raisins, almonds)
- Preheat the oven to 425° Fahrenheit.
- In a 2-quart deep baking dish, arrange the stale croissants in a single layer.
- In a bowl, whisk the milk, heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Pour the mixture over the croissants.
- Dollop the clotted cream across the top.
- Bake 15-20 minutes or until the liquid is bubbly and the bread is golden brown on top.
- Garnish with toasted coconut flakes, hazelnuts, raisins, and almonds, if desired. Serve warm.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.