Sometimes I find bread and butter pudding a little bit heavy. The addition of orange here cuts through the rib-sticking bread and makes things a little lighter, and the cardamom brings a perfumed flavour reminiscent of Indian desserts that works perfectly with the orange.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (93 votes)


  • 3 oranges
  • 300 ml (½ pint) milk
  • 300 ml (½ pint) double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • 15 green cardamom pods, crushed with a pestle and mortar
  • 90 g (3½ oz) butter, softened
  • 15 slices bread, preferably slightly stale
  • 8 eggs
  • 175 g (6 oz) caster sugar
  • 55 g (2 oz) shelled pistachios, chopped
  • 85 g (3¼ oz) golden sultanas
  • 3 tbsp Seville orange marmalade, peel removed 


To serve

  • icing sugar
  • crème fraîche (optional)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time 1 hour

Remove the zest from the oranges and set the rest of the oranges aside. Pour the milk and cream into a pan, add the orange zest, split vanilla pod and crushed cardamoms and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and place a large roasting tin inside to warm up – the tin should be large enough to hold the baking dish (see step 4) with space remaining around the edge.

Butter the bread and cut it into triangles. Segment the oranges with a sharp knife and discard the peel. Remove the translucent outer skin from each segment, and discard. Slice each segment in half. Beat the eggs and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Pour the infused milk through a fine sieve onto the egg mixture.

Arrange a layer of bread, buttered-side up, in a 30 x 22 x 5 cm (12 x 9 x 2 in) ovenproof dish, then add a layer of pistachio pieces, sultanas and orange segments. Repeat the layers, finishing with the bread and making the final layer overlap neatly. Pour the milk-and-egg mixture over the top. Put on a kettle of water to boil.

Place the dish in the roasting tin in the oven. Carefully pour boiling water into the roasting tin to come halfway up the sides of the dish, taking care not to allow any of the water to go into the pudding. Bake for 30–40 minutes until nearly set through.

Heat the marmalade in a small pan over gentle heat until liquid, and use to brush the top of the bread and butter pudding with the marmalade. To serve, scoop out each portion and dust with icing sugar, plus a dollop of crème fraîche if you like.  


Recipe from The Incredible Spice Men by Cyrus Todiwala and Tony Singh (BBC Books, $49.99, hbk, available here)


View all the recipes from The Incredible Spice Men.