I have never had bread pudding before. Stale bread just doesn’t seem that fun for dessert, to be honest. But food blogging tends to push you into new directions. I stumbled upon an Egyptian Bread and Butter Pudding, called Om Ali, while flipping through The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden.
Also called Umm Ali or Omm Ali, it literally translates to Ali’s mother. There are different stories as to its origin, but it sounds like Ali’s mom whipped up this delicious dessert from staples in her kitchen. Indeed, one of the reasons I tried it was because I had all these scraps of phyllo dough after trimming them from the baklava and some cream left over from a chocolate fondue feast. It was the perfect leftover throw together dessert.
Indeed, it is the scraps of phyllo (or puff pastry) that sets this dish apart from other bread puddings. In fact, I hesitate to call this a bread pudding, despite it being a pudding with bread in it (phyllo dough, rather). Instead of a bread-heavy dish, it is more of a creamy pudding. It is mixed with crunchy toasted almonds, sweet raisins, and topped with a dusting of cinnamon. This reminded me more of a creamy, baked rice pudding, sans rice, but with other delicious additions. In any case, it is delicious, and easy to make. Let it convert all the bread pudding haters.
This recipe was adapted from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden.
This is my submission to My Kitchen, My World for Egyptian travels.
Egyptian Bread and Butter Pudding (Om Ali)
6 sheets of phyllo dough (I used the scraps from my baklava adventure)
3-4 tbsp butter
2/3 cup raisins
1 cup mixed, chopped nuts, toasted (I used almonds but you could use hazelnuts, pistachios, etc)
4 cups milk (I used 1%)
1 cup 35% whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1. In a non-stick fry pan over medium heat, add butter. Once melted and heated, add individual pieces of phyllo dough. Toast until crisp and lightly brown in colour. (Roden suggests lightly coating each phyllo dough with butter and then baking for 10 minutes at 350F).
2. When cool enough to handle, crush the baked phyllo dough and combine with raisins and nuts in a large baking dish.
3. Bring the milk and cream to a boil with the sugar. Once boiling, remove from heat and pour over the phyllo dough mixture. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
4. Bake at 425F for 20-30 minutes until slightly golden. Serve warm (traditional) or cold. I liked it both ways.