Turkey gilding

Main courses

  • Serves: 1
  • Preparation time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking time: 10 minutes
A gilded turkey © National Trust

A gilded turkey


This process was used to give roast poultry a gilded appearance. It really does make the Christmas bird look splendid.

25g unsalted butter
25g sugar
2tbs white wine vinegar
1 egg yolk
Large pinch of saffron strands


  1. Gently cook the saffron in the butter, until the butter has turned vibrant yellow. Strain to remove saffron strands.
  2. Return to the pan and add the sugar and vinegar. Cook until syrupy.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the yolk. Continue cooking gently, without boiling, until thick.
  4. Ten minutes before the bird is cooked, remove from the oven and paint it with the gilding mixture. Return to the oven and continue cooking.