saffron bread and butter pudding

saffron bread and butter pudding

Saffron bread and butter pudding turns leftover panettone into a pudding with a spice from a part of the world where the Christmas story originates. A makeover pudding, where panettone moves from the realms of breakfast to celebratory feasting. Zejd’s saffron from the Bekaa Valley adds a whiff of the eastern Mediterranean. Its aroma marries well with the enriched bread studded with fruit and candied peel, turning the just set custard into a rich golden colour. Bread and butter pudding becomes regal!

We based ours on 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. We warmed the saffron strands gently for 30 secs before grinding them in a pestle and mortar. This helps it infuse better in the warm creamy milk. But if you don’t have time, left whole, the strands will still turn the milk a golden hue. Leaving the custard for 30 minutes before cooking as Hopkinson suggests, allows the panettone to absorb the liquid. We put our dish in a roasting tin of cold water, bain-marie style, so the custard cooks 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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