If you’re in search of a luxurious and festive dessert this holiday season, Nigella Lawson’s Panettone Bread and Butter Pudding is a perfect choice. This indulgent pudding combines the rich flavors of buttery panettone, an Italian sweet bread laden with candied fruits and nuts, immersed in a sumptuous custard blend of eggs, cream, milk, vanilla, and sugar. Baked to achieve a golden, crisp top, it’s ideal use for any leftover panettone, transforming it into a delightful treat any time of the year.
In this article, I will show you how to make Nigella’s panettone bread and butter pudding in a few easy steps, with tips and tricks to ensure a successful result. You will also learn about the history and variations of this classic dessert, and how to serve and store it. Let’s get started!
What is panettone bread and butter pudding?
Panettone bread and butter pudding is a variation of the traditional British bread and butter pudding, which dates back to the 17th century. Bread and butter pudding is a simple and economical way to use up stale bread, by layering it with butter and dried fruits, pouring over a mixture of eggs, milk, cream, and sugar, and baking it in the oven. The result is a soft and moist pudding with a crunchy crust, that can be enjoyed hot or cold, with cream, custard, or ice cream.
Panettone bread and butter pudding is a more luxurious version of this dessert, using panettone instead of bread. Panettone is a dome-shaped, yeast-leavened cake that originated in Milan, Italy and is traditionally eaten during Christmas and New Year. It has a light and airy texture and is studded with raisins, candied orange, lemon, and citron peel, and sometimes almonds, chocolate, or pistachios. Panettone has a distinctive flavor and aroma, thanks to the use of natural sourdough starter, butter, eggs, and vanilla.
Nigella Lawson, the famous British food writer and TV personality, has popularized panettone bread and butter pudding in her cookbook Nigella Christmas, and on her show Nigella’s Christmas Kitchen. She describes it as “a sort of Anglo-Italian trifle”, and adds some dark rum and orange zest to the custard, and some chocolate chips to the panettone, for extra indulgence. She also suggests using a shallow baking dish, to get more of the crispy top, and serving it with a dollop of mascarpone cream.
What is Nigella Panettone Bread And Butter Pudding Recipe?
Nigella panettone bread and butter pudding recipe is a delicious and easy dessert, that uses panettone, a traditional Italian sweet bread, as the base. Panettone is sliced, buttered, and layered with chocolate chips, in a shallow baking dish. Then, a custard of eggs, cream, milk, sugar, vanilla, rum, and orange zest, is poured over the panettone, and baked in a water bath, until golden and crisp on top. The pudding is served with a dusting of icing sugar, and a dollop of mascarpone cream, for extra indulgence.
Why You Love this Recipe
Some of the reasons why I love this recipe are:
- Indulgent layers of sweet, buttery panettone soaked in boozy, citrusy custard
- Crisp, caramelized top provides perfect texture contrast against the soft bread
- Endlessly adaptable to tastes with mix-in nuts, spices, liqueurs
- An elegant yet convenient dessert that can be made ahead
- Transports you back to joyful, nostalgia-filled mornings
Ingredients Needed to Make Nigella Panettone Bread and Butter Pudding
Here is what you will need:
- 50g (1.8 oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 250g (8.8 oz) panettone, cut into 1cm (0.4 inch) slices
- 2 large eggs
- 142ml (4.8 fl oz) double cream
- 225ml (7.6 fl oz) whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons dark rum
- Zest of 1 orange
- 50g (1.8 oz) dark chocolate chips
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- Mascarpone cream, for serving (optional)
- A 20x30cm (8×12 inch) shallow baking dish
- A small saucepan
- A whisk
- A large mixing bowl
- A measuring jug
- A zester
- A knife
- A cutting board
- A spatula
- A sieve
- An oven
- A roasting tin
Instructions to Make Nigella’s Panettone Bread and Butter Pudding
Step 1: Preheat the oven and grease the baking dish
- Preheat the oven to 160°C (140°C fan) / 320°F (284°F fan) / Gas Mark 3.
- Grease a 20x30cm (8×12 inch) shallow baking dish with a little of the butter. You can use a pastry brush, or a paper towel, to spread the butter evenly.
Step 2: Butter and layer the panettone slices
- Butter the panettone slices lightly with the rest of the butter, using a knife or a spatula. You can use salted or unsalted butter, depending on your taste.
- Cut the panettone slices in half, using a knife or a cutting board. You can also cut them into smaller pieces if you prefer.
- Arrange the panettone slices in the baking dish, slightly overlapping, and sprinkling some of the chocolate chips between the layers. You can use milk, dark, or white chocolate chips, or a mix of them.
Step 3: Heat the cream, milk, and vanilla
- In a small saucepan, gently heat the cream, milk, and vanilla, over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until just below boiling point. Do not let it boil, or it will curdle the eggs later. You can use a thermometer, or look for small bubbles around the edges, to check the temperature.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat, and set it aside.
Step 4: Whisk the eggs, sugar, rum, and orange zest
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, rum, and orange zest, until well combined and frothy. You can use a whisk, a fork, or an electric mixer, to whisk the ingredients. You can also use a zester, a grater, or a knife, to zest the orange.
- Make sure to whisk the ingredients well, to aerate the custard, and dissolve the sugar.
Step 5: Pour the hot cream mixture over the egg mixture
- Gradually pour the hot cream mixture over the egg mixture, whisking constantly, until you have a smooth and creamy custard. You can use a measuring jug, a ladle, or a spoon, to pour the cream mixture. You can also use a sieve, or a fine mesh strainer, to strain the custard, if you want to remove any lumps or bits of orange zest.
Step 6: Pour the custard over the panettone slices
- Pour the custard evenly over the panettone slices, making sure they are well-soaked. You can use a spatula, or a spoon, to spread the custard over the panettone. You can also press the panettone slices down gently with a spatula, or your fingers, to help them absorb the liquid.
Step 7: Bake the pudding in a water bath
- Put the baking dish in a roasting tin, or a large baking tray, and fill the tin with hot water, until it reaches halfway up the sides of the baking dish. This will create a water bath, or bain-marie, that will help the pudding cook evenly and prevent it from drying out or burning. You can use a kettle, or a pot, to boil the water, and a pitcher, or a cup, to pour the water.
- Bake the pudding for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it is golden and crisp on top, but still slightly wobbly in the center. The pudding will continue to set as it cools, so do not overbake it, or it will become dry and rubbery. You can use a toothpick, or a knife, to check the doneness of the pudding, by inserting it in the center, and seeing if it comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs.
Step 8: Rest and dust the pudding
- Remove the pudding from the oven, and let it rest for 10 minutes, before dusting it with icing sugar. You can use a sieve, or a spoon, to get a fine and even layer of sugar. You can also use a cooling rack, or a trivet, to place the baking dish on, to prevent it from scorching the surface underneath.
Step 9: Serve the pudding
- Serve the pudding in generous slices, with a spoonful of mascarpone cream, if desired. You can also reheat the pudding in the microwave, or enjoy it cold from the fridge. You can use a knife, or a spatula, to cut and serve the pudding. You can also use a scoop, or a spoon, to serve the mascarpone cream.
What Do I Serve With Nigella Panettone Bread And Butter Pudding?
Nigella Lawson’s Panettone Bread and Butter Pudding is a delightful treat on its own. However, pairing it with the right accompaniment can elevate the overall taste experience.
Here are some straightforward yet delightful options to consider:
- Mascarpone Cream: Enhance the pudding’s richness with a dollop of mascarpone cream. Simply mix mascarpone with a bit of cream, sugar, and vanilla to a soft peak consistency. For a twist, try adding a splash of rum or a sprinkle of orange zest for a burst of flavor.
- Custard: A traditional British favorite, custard pairs wonderfully with bread and butter pudding. Its creamy texture and vanilla sweetness complement the pudding beautifully. You can opt for homemade custard or a convenient ready-made version.
- Ice Cream: For a contrast of temperatures, serve the warm pudding with a scoop of ice cream. Vanilla, chocolate, or rum and raisin flavors work particularly well with the panettone’s rich taste. Consider a drizzle of chocolate or caramel sauce for added indulgence.
- Whipped Cream: Light and airy whipped cream makes for a simple yet effective accompaniment. Whip cream with a touch of sugar and vanilla until stiff. For added complexity, incorporate a hint of rum, orange zest, or cinnamon into the cream.
Expert Tips for a Perfect Nigella Panettone Bread and Butter Pudding
Creating the ideal Panettone Bread and Butter Pudding requires a few key considerations:
- Select Quality Panettone: Opt for a fresh, moist panettone rich in fruits and nuts. Experiment with different flavors like chocolate, pistachio, or lemon to suit your taste.
- Reviving Stale Panettone: If the panettone is dry, lightly sprinkle it with water or rum to refresh its texture before layering in the dish.
- Choice of Baking Dish: A shallow dish is ideal for achieving a crispier top. Alternatively, individual ramekins can be used for portioned servings.
- Cream and Milk Mixture: Heat until just before boiling to prevent curdling with the eggs. Watch for small bubbles and then remove from heat.
- Egg Mixture: Whisk eggs, sugar, rum, and orange zest thoroughly. This ensures a light, well-integrated custard and helps dissolve the sugar.
- Custard Soaking: Pour the custard over the panettone slices evenly, ensuring they are thoroughly soaked. Press down gently for better absorption.
- Baking Method: Use a water bath to bake the pudding, ensuring even cooking and preventing drying or burning. Fill the roasting tin with hot water halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
- Baking Duration: Bake until the top is golden yet the center remains slightly wobbly. Avoid overbaking to prevent a dry texture.
- Resting Time: Allow the pudding to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Dust with icing sugar for a festive touch.
Variations of Nigella Panettone Bread And Butter Pudding
This adaptable recipe can be tailored according to your preferences:
- Chocolate Variation: Incorporate chocolate panettone or add cocoa powder to the custard. Use different types of chocolate chips for a richer taste.
- Fruity Version: Mix in dried fruits like cranberries, cherries, apricots, or figs between the panettone layers. Spread orange marmalade, lemon curd, or jam on the slices for added zing.
- Spicy Twist: Add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, or ginger to the custard. Consider using spiced rum or brandy for an extra flavor kick.
- Nutty Variation: Introduce chopped nuts like almonds, pistachios, walnuts, or pecans. Nutella or almond butter can replace regular butter for a richer spread on the panettone slices.
How do I store Nigella Panettone Bread And Butter Pudding?
Proper storage of Nigella’s Panettone Bread and Butter Pudding ensures its freshness and flavor:
- Refrigeration: Cool the pudding to room temperature before storing. Place in an airtight container or cover the original baking dish with plastic wrap or foil. It remains fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Freezing: For longer storage, freeze the cooled pudding. Use a freezer-safe container or wrap the baking dish in plastic wrap followed by foil. The pudding can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How do I reheat Nigella Panettone Bread And Butter Pudding?
Enjoy the pudding warm by following these reheating methods:
- Microwave: For a quick warm-up, use the microwave. If the pudding seems dry, lightly sprinkle with water or rum. Heat in short intervals, checking periodically, until warm. This method works well for individual servings or the entire dish.
- Oven Reheating: Preheat your oven to 150°C (130°C fan) / 300°F (266°F fan) / Gas Mark 2. Place the pudding in an oven-safe dish, optionally covered with foil to prevent excessive browning. Reheat for 15 to 20 minutes or until it reaches the desired temperature. For added moisture, sprinkle a bit of water or rum over the pudding before heating.
Nutrition value per serving (based on ):
- Calories: 548 kcal
- Fat: 34.9 g
- Saturates: 17.9 g
- Carbs: 50.9 g
- Sugars: 29.4 g
- Protein: 9 g
- Salt: 0.4 g
How do I prevent the custard from curdling in the panettone bread and butter pudding?
To prevent the custard from curdling, you need to avoid overheating the cream and milk mixture, and the egg mixture. Make sure to heat the cream and milk until just below boiling point, and then remove it from the heat. Whisk the eggs, sugar, rum, and orange zest well, until frothy and well combined. Gradually pour the hot cream mixture over the egg mixture, whisking constantly, until you have a smooth and creamy custard. You can also strain the custard through a sieve, to remove any lumps or bits of orange zest.
How do I make the panettone bread and butter pudding more moist and soft?
To make the pudding more moist and soft, you need to ensure that the panettone slices are well-soaked with the custard and that the pudding is not overbaked. Pour the custard evenly over the panettone slices, making sure they are well covered. You can press them down gently with a spatula, or your fingers, to help them absorb the liquid. Bake the pudding for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it is golden and crisp on top, but still slightly wobbly in the center. The pudding will continue to set as it cools, so do not worry if it looks undercooked. You can also sprinkle some water or rum over the pudding, before reheating it, to moisten it and prevent it from drying out.
How do I make the panettone bread and butter pudding more crispy and caramelized on top?
To make the pudding more crispy and caramelized on top, you need to use a shallow baking dish and bake the pudding in a water bath. A shallow baking dish will allow more of the panettone slices to be exposed to the heat, and to form a crunchy crust. A water bath, or bain-marie, will help the pudding cook evenly and gently, and prevent it from burning. You can also dust the pudding with some icing sugar, before serving, to add some sweetness and shine.