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Egyptian Bread Pudding

Lavender Egyptian Bread Pudding (Om Ali)

Renée Robinson

Like No Other Bread Pudding I’ve Ever Tasted – Not Even Close.

I guess I’ve been on a quest for a great bread pudding for as long as I can remember. This is one of those dishes where the idea has always intrigued me more than the actual outcome. It always turns out too thick and solid. I started reducing the amount of eggs awhile ago and that helped, but it still was too solid for my personal taste. I always wanted it to be looser and creamier.

I don’t know how I’d never heard of Egyptian Bread Pudding (Om Ali). It’s actually the national dessert of Egypt and there are tons and tons of recipes for it. It’s either made with puff pastry or homemade or purchased palmiers. I loved the idea of the crisp puff pastry, but here’s what really got my attention. There are NO eggs in it. Only milk and cream. Talk about a revelation. From the time I first ran into this dish, I had it on the table in 2 days. I could not wait to try it. 

Quite a few recipes called for sweetened condensed milk, but I knew that was not what I wanted. Sweetened condensed milk would put this in way too sweet territory for what I had in mind. After looking at a bunch of recipes, I knew I was going to have to come up with my own recipe in order to get it to be exactly what I had in mind. So, I don’t even remotely claim any authenticity. This is only my interpretation of this classic dish.

Ingredients for Egyptian Bread Pudding

Almost all the recipes called for raisins. A lot of raisins. Instead, I chose to use dried apricots. The really good soft ones. The recipes also always call for nuts, usually a mixture. I opted for pistachios and whole chopped almonds.  Some had coconut, but I decided to eliminate it from mine. I really guessed at the amounts of milk and cream, leaning towards more, rather than less. After batting around flavor ideas with my son, I went way off base and steeped some dried ground lavender buds in the warm milk, cream, granulated sugar, and brown sugar because it seemed like a logical and lovely flavor addition to us. 

Now, to the pastry. I have access to great store bought puff pastry – Dufour All Butter Puff Pastry. I unfolded it onto a parchment lined sheet pan, sliced it into squares, brushed it with a couple tablespoons of brown butter, sprinkled it with a little sugar and baked it until it was thoroughly browned and crisp. 

Baked Bread Ready for Pudding

I let it cool, cut it up into smaller pieces, placed it into a baking dish, and topped it with the nuts and apricots, holding back a few of the pastry pieces to place on top. 

Preparations in Dish

After pouring the warm milk mixture over everything in the dish, I baked it for little less than a half hour, until it was nicely crisped and bubbling. I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited about tasting something. I couldn’t wait to see how this turned out. 

Serving of Egyptian Bread Pudding

Well, here it is, folks. It’s the bread pudding of my dreams. I don’t know why it never occurred to me that eggs simply aren’t needed. They only make it too heavy. This was super creamy on the inside and the puff pastry is out of this world in both texture and flavor. I sprinkled additional lavender buds on top because their floral flavor perfectly punctuated all the other flavors. I will make this again and again. I think it will be good with other nuts, too. Hazelnuts come to mind, but I think I’ll always include pistachios because their sweetness is perfect here. As to the apricots, I’ll always use them. Their inherent sweetness and tartness really brought this bread pudding to life. But in the end, it was really all about that glorious texture.

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Lavender Egyptian Bread Pudding (Om Ali)

Recipe by Renée Robinson

8 - 10


Bread pudding made with puff pastry, dried apricots, pistachios, and almonds. The milk and cream are infused with ground dried lavender. Good grief, this is so delicious.

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  • 14 ounce (396.9g) box Dufour Puff Pastry, thawed in the refrigerator

  • 2 tablespoons browned salted butter

  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

  • 1/2 cup whole almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

  • 1/2 heaping cup toasted and salted pistachios, coarsely chopped

  • 1 cup (200g) dried apricots, chopped

  • 4 cups whole milk

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons ground dried edible lavender buds, plus more for garnishing


  • Preheat oven to 400° with a rack in the center. Unwrap the puff pastry onto a parchment lined half sheet pan, pressing it flat. Using a sharp knife, slice through the pastry, creating 12 squares. Brush the pastry with the browned butter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar. Bake for 24 minutes, until deeply golden brown and fully puffed. Place on a rack and let cool to room temperature.
  • Increase the oven temperature to 425°. When the pastry is cool, chop it very roughly and place into a buttered 13 x 9 inch baking dish, holding back a couple of handfuls. Sprinkle the apricots and nuts on top of the pastry, adding the reserved pastry pieces to the very top.
  • In a large saucepan, stir together the milk, heavy cream, brown sugar, the remaining 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, and 2 teaspoons ground lavender. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a simmer. Pour over all the ingredients in the prepared dish.
  • Bake for 25 - 28 minutes, until it’s bubbling and the top is browned and crisp. Serve warm and Enjoy! By the way, I found that chilled leftovers were brought back to life by placing them under the broiler for a few minutes in order to crisp up the top. The leftovers were as good as when it first came out of the oven.

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