Christmas Bread and Butter Pudding

Diana Henry turns this traditional 17th century peasant pudding into a luxurious Christmas dessert with the addition of a few winter warming ingredients and a slug of whisky
By Diana Henry
Christmas Bread and Butter Pudding
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus infusing and soaking
  • Effort: easy


  • 300 ml milk
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, split (or ½ tsp vanilla extract)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 40 g butter
  • 4 baby brioche, cut into slices 2cm thick
  • a few good slugs whiskey
  • 3 heaped tbsp mincemeat
  • 65 g fresh cranberries
  • 1 small apple
  • icing sugar, for dusting
  • crème fraîche, to serve


1. Bring the milk, cream and vanilla pod up to almost boiling point with a pinch of salt. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. (If you are using vanilla extract, add it now.)

2. Beat the whole eggs, extra yolk and sugar together. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk and bring back up to scalding point. Pour onto the beaten eggs, whisking all the time.

3. Butter the brioche slices and layer them, buttered-side up, in an ovenproof dish. Slosh over a little whisky. Spread the mincemeat, cranberries and apple on top. Pour over the vanilla custard through a sieve and leave to site for 30 minutes so the bread soaks up the custard and makes a lighter pudding.

4. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

5. Put the dish in a roasting tin and add enough boiled water to the tin to come halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until puffy and set on top and light golden in colour.

6. Leave to cool slightly before dusting with icing sugar. Serve with crème fraîche.

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