saffron bread and butter pudding

saffron bread and butter pudding

Saffron bread and butter pudding, leftover panettone put to good use, with a spice from a part of the world where the Christmas story originates. Fitting for Christmas feasting. A makeover pudding, where panettone moves from the realms of breakfast to celebratory pudding. The addition of Zejd’s saffron from the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon adds a whiff of the magical lands of the eastern Mediterranean. Its aroma marries so well with the rich fruit bread. The just set custard infused with saffron is a rich golden colour. Bread and butter pudding becomes regal!

We used Simon Hopkinson’s recipe from Roast Chicken and other Stories. As he says, it can be a delicious thing if it is made with good ingredients. A well made panettone, studded with fruit and nuts, needs only milk, eggs and sugar, and a pinch of saffron to become a pudding fit for a magi. We ground the strands of saffron in a pestle and mortar so that it infuses in the warm creamy milk better. But if you don’t have one, left whole, the strands will still turn the milk a golden hue. If you can, leave the panettone for 30 minutes before cooking, so the bread can absorb the custard, as Hopkinson suggests. We put our dish in a roasting tin of cold water, bain-marie style, so the custard cooked evenly and gently in the oven. 

serves 4


4 generous slices of panettone, or pan dulce
3 whole eggs
2 egg yolks 
250ml full fat milk
150ml double cream
50g caster sugar
a pinch of Zejd’s saffron (ground in a pestle and mortar if you have one)


  1. Lightly butter a deep oven-proof oval dish. Arrange the slices of panettone in the dish, overlapping if you can.
  2. Warm the milk and cream in a small pan, until it is just beginning to steam around the edges. Remove from the heat, and add the saffron. Stir and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, mix the whole eggs and the egg yolks together with the sugar until well blended but not frothy. 
  4. Add the saffron to the egg mixture and stir. 
  5. Pour the mixture through a sieve over the slices of panettone, and leave for 30 minutes, if you can.
  6. Set the oven to 350 F/  180C/ 170 C fan/ Gas 4. Put the dish in a roasting dish and fill with cold water until it reaches halfway up the side of the dish. 
  7. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, then check to see if the custard is just set and golden. It may need a little longer. Then remove from the roasting dish and leave  to cool slightly before serving. 

Serve with double cream. 

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