Pharaoh's Pudding (Egyptian Umm Ali)

The lovechild of baklava and bread & butter pudding, born in the land of the pyramids.


Pharaoh's Pudding is a pudding fit for, well...

... a Pharaoh!

We take buttery croissants, strew them with pistachios and almonds, drench it all in thick milk spiced with vanilla, cinnamon and cardamom, before finally roasting it all in a hot oven. It's deluxe, exotic and it feels like the warmest embrace in the mouth!


This pudding is inspired by Umm Ali - the national dessert of Egypt - which has been around since ancient Egypt. Modern Umm Ali is typically made from puff pastry, various nuts, dried fruits, milk and spices. There are many ways of making 'Umm Ali', and an Egyptian may well have a freak-attack at my take on it. My recipe is no way a traditional Umm Ali, but I have taken the best flavours and essences of that dessert and made it much friendlier and quicker for you to make.


Traditional Umm Ali normally asks for puff or filo pastry, but I've replaced it with croissants! It's just easier to use croissants, and it's so much quicker as you don't need to fanny around with rolling out and baking puff pastry. Umm Ali also asks for raisins. I decided to leave raisins out of my recipe simply because they remind me of the nasty ones you get in bread & butter pudding. Bread & butter pudding was a hugely popular dessert in the UK at one point, but is now considered 'retro' and a bit gauche. I like bread & butter pudding really, but I don't tend to shout about it. I completely resent snobbery when it comes to food - but let's be real - bread & butter pudding is the 'sweatpants + no underwear' of the dessert world. By leaving out the dried fruit, this Pharaoh's Pudding is a far cry from that trashy, grubby stigma!


Unfortunately, this Pharaoh's Pudding doesn't keep for long - it becomes very dense once it cools down - so I definitely wouldn't recommend making this in advance for anything. However, I would totally recommend making it at a moment's notice, in a small batch just for yourself and a couple of others to enjoy for supper, in a bowl with some vanilla ice cream.

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What You'll Need:
(To serve 3-4 or people)

5-6 Small Croissants
1 can of Evaporated Milk
75g of Pistachios
50g of Flaked Almonds
2 tablespoons of White Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 pods of Cardamom
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
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STEP 1: Find a small roasting pan/dish - anything that's at least one-inch deep and will make a snug home for 5-6 needy croissants


Tear up your croissants into chunky nuggets, and tuck them into your dish so that they're snug but not squashed.



STEP 2: Prepare your nuts!


Sprinkle most - but not all - of your flaked almonds and rubbled/chopped pistachios over the croissants, and poke around a bit to tuck the nuts between the cracks and crevices.



 Keep a few nuts back to sprinkle over your creation when it emerges from the oven.

STEP 3: Let's make our spiced milk - it's very easy!


Empty your can of evaporated milk into a saucepan and start heating it on a low heat.



In the meantime, add your cinnamon, vanilla and cardamom (make sure you burst the cardamom pods first) into your milk.



Add your two tablespoons of sugar; I used brown sugar to add some richness, but white sugar is perfectly fine!


Heat everything for about 10 minutes on a low heat so all of the spices can infuse. Remember to remove the cardamom pods afterwards! Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 180C/350F.



STEP 4: Pour your spiced milk over your pan of croissants, making sure to coat every nugget of croissant so nothing stays dry.



Take a spoon and gently pat everything down to soak in the milk.


Sprinkle a little sugar over the top to make the surface nice and crisp!

STEP 5: Place your pan of goodness in the oven and roast for 12-15 minutes until it is golden brown and toasted on the surface, then take it out.


STEP 6: Sprinkle over the leftover almonds and pistachios from earlier, and you're good to serve up straight away!


Get your plates and cutlery ready!



Serve it with splash of cold milk (so good!) or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The hot'n'cold thing is one of the best things about life in my opinion!

Hope you enjoy!

Thanks for reading,

Anthony :)




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