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.
- Lightly butter a deep oven-proof oval dish. Arrange the slices of panettone in the dish, overlapping if you can.
- 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.
- Meanwhile, mix the whole eggs and the egg yolks together with the sugar until well blended but not frothy.
- Add the saffron to the egg mixture and stir.
- Pour the mixture through a sieve over the slices of panettone, and leave for 30 minutes, if you can.
- 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.
- 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.