Um Ali: Jordanian dessert A popular dessert in Jordan and the Middle East, Um Ali is a bit like bread and butter pudding.

The sun was just beginning to set when we arrived at the Petra Marriott, a hotel that is stunningly situated across the valley from the ancient city. It had been a lifelong dream to visit Petra, in Jordan, and as I sat on the deck of the Marriott Hotel watching the sun go down over the mountains hiding this treasure that I was going to be seeing in just a few hours time, life seemed pretty sweet. Nearly as sweet as Um Ali in fact!

Popular in Jordan and elsewhere in the Middle East, this very yummy dessert is a bit like bread and butter pudding. I had it several times during my week in Jordan but the best was at the Petra Marriott, and when I later wrote to the hotel’s director of operations, Zovinar Mananian, asking for the recipe, she kindly sent it to me (along with a friendly tongue-in-cheek comment: “Hope the above will help your readers lose some calories”).
Forget the calories and try this recipe for yourself.


15 pieces of toasted bread or croissants, shredded or cut very small
1 litre milk
300 grams sugar
Few drops of vanilla essence or rose water
Mixed nuts (pistachio, raisins, coconuts, split almond etc) – quantity optional
Cinnamon powder
Whipped cream
Nuts for topping
Heat the milk and sugar with vanilla or a few drops of rose water. Mix the shredded and cut-to-small pieces of croissant with all nuts and cinnamon powder. Add the milk to the croissant mixture. Top with whipped cream and some nuts. Bake in a moderate oven for 5 to 8 minutes until it is brownish on top.

Recipe courtesy of Petra Marriott Hotel, Jordan.

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