Indulge in a luscious Indian Bread Pudding showcasing cardamom and saffron-infused flavors. A modern and much easier take on the traditional shaahi tukda or double ka meetha, this recipe is an exquisite finale to any delightful meal!
What is Indian Bread Pudding?
This version of Indian bread pudding draws inspiration from an Indian delicacy known as shahi tukda, also referred to as double ka meetha in some parts of the country which literally translates into a dessert made with bread. Whenever we had guests, my mom would make one of the versions of shaahi tukda which was basically pieces of bread deep fried in ghee and soaked in a syrup flavored with cardamom and saffron and topped with a cream concoction called rabdee.
This is my modern and much easier take on the classic shahi tukda. Same rich, earthy and floral flavors but half the work, one pot recipe, and sure to impress your guests and family. It's great Diwali recipe or perfect for a Holiday party (just like this herbed ricotta dip recipe) and is going to be super hit at your next potluck.
Why you'll love this recipe?
- Uses simple, easy to find ingredients: Bread, butter, milk, cream, eggs, and sugar are the basic ingredients that we all have on hand most of the times. The custard gets it's distinct Indian flavor from cardamom and saffron and the almonds and raisins add the textural elements. All of these ingredients are available at most super markets.
- Quick prep and bake: I love "recipes" that are basically mixing and whisking ingredients together and then dumping them in a dish to bake. And this Indian bread pudding recipe is pretty much as simple as that.
- Feeds a crowd: This batch makes generous servings for 10-12 people. So make this for a party or when you have family over and enjoy as a dessert or even for brunch!
Like most TKD recipes, this recipe uses easy to find, simple ingredients. The ingredients mimic the flavors of a classic shahi tukda. The eggs and heavy cream are great for realizing this recipe without the whole effort of frying and soaking bread in sugar syrup.
- Bread: Ina Garten suggests the use of Brioche bread for a bread pudding so that's what I chose to use in this recipe. But any hearty, stale bread will work. I used brioche buns and tore them into roughly 1 inch cubes.
- Custard: The custard is basically the liquid component of this recipe and is the backbone of all the flavors. The custard is uncooked and will bake with the bread. It consists of milk, cream, saffron, cardamom, sugar and eggs.
- Fruits and Nuts: Chopped almonds and raisins add the authentic Indian dessert touch to this bread pudding. You can substitute these with any other combination that you like or have on hand.
- Butter: I always recommend using room temperature butter. We will melt the butter so if its at room temperature chances are that it won't "pop" in the microwave. Unsalted is preferred but salted won't sink this recipe.
- Eggs: 4 large eggs act as a binding agent and contribute moisture and richness to the bread pudding.
Don't forget to check out the recipe card below for a complete list of ingredients and detailed instructions.
How to make Indian bread pudding
Plan ahead: Take out the butter and eggs out of the refrigerator so that they are at room temperature for this Indian Bread Pudding. Though cold eggs and butter would not break this recipe, but let's be good bakers and try to do this. Also, it is easier to melt butter in the microwave when it's at room temperature. Popping butter in the microwave leads to an unpleasant cleaning experience.
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) with a rack placed in the middle. Grease a 9 X 13 inch baking pan/dish with butter.
Step 2: Cut or tear your brioche bread into roughly 1 inch cubes. Warm the milk and butter together and add saffron and cardamom powder to it. In a separate measuring cup, whisk together heavy cream, eggs, and sugar. Mix the two liquids. (Images 1 and 2 below).
Step 3: Add the chopped almonds and raisins to the cubed bread. (Image 3).
Step 4 and 5: Pour the custard (your mix of milk, butter, cardamom, saffron, heavy cream, sugar, and eggs) over the dish and gently press to ensure thorough soaking of the bread. Allow it to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes. (Images 4 and 5).
Step 6: After 10 minutes, put the baking dish in a cookie sheet or roasting pan. Pour approximately 1 inch of the hot water into the cookie sheet, taking care that the water does not get into the baking sheet. (Image 6). Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, creating a tented cover to prevent direct contact with the pudding. Poke a few holes to let the steam out. Bake for 45 minutes, then uncover and continue baking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the custard sets and a knife inserted into the center emerges clean.
Steps 7 and 8: Sprinkle a layer of confectioners' sugar over the dish and drizzle the glaze. (Images 7 and 8).
Serve this Indian Bread Pudding warm, generously drizzled with more glaze or with ice cream. And for other fusion Indian dessert action, don't forget to explore Strawberry Shrikhand Eggrolls Recipe!
Pro Tips for this Recipe
- Bread: Brioche bread or rolls is by far my most recommended bread for this recipe. Though I have not tried this Indian bread pudding with croissants but just like the Mushroom Croissant Bake recipe, croissants will be a good option as well. You could also use a loaf of french bread if you cannot find brioche.
- Let the bread soak: This step should not be rushed. You want to give the bread enough time to soak and suck in most of the custard. This is what will result in uniformly moist bread pudding. The more hearty the bread used, the longer you should soak it in the custard.
- Baking the bread pudding: The steam generated from the water in the roasting pan/cookie sheet provides a more even and controlled heat transfer, promoting a smooth and creamy texture in the bread pudding. The water bath also helps to prevent turning the eggs in the custard to scrambled eggs due to the proteins coagulating too quickly and ultimately helps in a more tender and velvety texture. The foil prevents excessive browning.
Creating a bread pudding is incredibly versatile. You have the freedom to modify numerous ingredients, allowing you to craft various flavor combinations that cater to your preferences. Here are some of my suggestions:
- Type of bread: As stated earlier, use whatever bread you have on hand. This recipe is a great way to use up some stale bread that you sitting around your kitchen. Brioche (loaf or dinner rolls), french bread or croissants are some of the options.
- Switch up Custard flavors - Cardamom and saffron are very traditional Indian dessert flavors and I use these two together a lot like in this Shrikhand, Kesar Peda, and Cardamom Apple Bourbon Handpies recipes. But you can easily switch these up and use something like cinnamon, nutmeg or even all-spice.
- Different nuts or making it nut-free - You can easily replace almonds with cashews, pecans, walnuts or pistachios and if you want to make a nut-free version, skip the nuts entirely or use toasted pumpkin seeds instead.
See this savory version of a bread pudding in the form of this Mushroom Croissant Bake on my website!
Generally speaking, the ingredients of a bread pudding include stale bread, butter, a custard made of milk/cream, eggs, and sugar, and flavorings or your choice.
The bread pudding may turn out mushy or too soft if it's not baked completely or if the bread isn't stale enough. Ensure thorough baking time and use drier, stale bread.
You can store any leftover Indian bread pudding in the dish you baked it by tightly covering the dish with plastic wrap or foil. Or you can take out the leftovers and transfer them into an airtight container. This dish will last 3-5 days in the refrigerator without spoiling. To reheat the pudding, transfer a single serving on a plate and warm in the microwave for 10-20 seconds.
You sure can! Store the bread pudding in a freezer-safe container and freeze it for up to 2 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw it overnight in the fridge and reheat individual servings in the microwave for 10-20 seconds.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
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Indian Bread Pudding with Cardamom and Saffron
- 4 tablespoon butter plus extra for greasing
- ½ loaf brioche bread cubed About 6 cups, See notes
- 1 ½ c milk
- 2 c heavy cream
- 1 c sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
- 1 generous pinch saffron
- 1 cup almonds measured and then chopped
- ¼ cup raisins Use up to ½ cup if you like
- ¼ cup powdered sugar separated, 1 tablespoon for dusting and rest for the glaze.
- 2 tablespoon milk or cream
- Plan ahead: Take out the butter and eggs out of the refrigerator so that they are at room temperature.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) with a rack placed in the middle. Grease a 9 X 13 inch baking pan/dish with butter.
- Cut or tear your brioche bread into roughly 1 inch cubes. Warm the milk and butter together and add saffron and cardamom powder to it.
- In a separate large measuring cup, whisk together heavy cream, eggs, and sugar. Mix the two liquids (milk and heavy cream mixtures).
- Add the chopped almonds and raisins to the cubed bread.
- Pour the custard (your mix of milk, butter, cardamom, saffron, heavy cream, sugar, and eggs) over the dish and gently press to ensure thorough soaking of the bread. Allow it to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, put the baking dish in a cookie sheet with high edges or a roasting pan. Pour approximately 1 inch of the hot water into the cookie sheet, taking care that the water does not get into the baking sheet.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, creating a tented cover to prevent direct contact with the pudding. Poke a few holes to let the steam out.
- Bake for 45 minutes, then uncover and continue baking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the custard sets and a knife inserted into the center emerges clean.
- While the pudding is baking, make the glaze by whisking the powdered sugar and milk/cream together.
- Take the pudding out of the oven, sprinkle a layer of confectioners' sugar over the dish and drizzle with the glaze.
- Serve this Indian Bread Pudding warm, generously drizzled with more glaze or with ice cream.