I said that I fancied making a bread and butter pudding with some of the spiced fruit loaf I baked. Since it already had a reasonable amount of fruit in it, I thought I’d try a variation on my usual recipe, which is this one. I don’t think I’ve ever made it with as many as five slices of bread, given that my home-baked stuff is thicker than bought stuff. Perhaps that’s why the top of that one is so flat but it makes it look a bit stodgy, which it isn’t in the slightest.
It occurred to me that while a bread and butter pudding might be a familiar dish to me, it might be less so outside the UK. For the benefit of anyone unfamiliar, it’s just a pudding made by layering buttered, slightly stale, bread with raisins and sugar and then pouring over a mixture of milk and beaten egg, usually with cinnamon or nutmeg added. A popular variation is to add marmalade (another Brit favourite) which gives it a lovely orangey flavour.
You’re essentially making a baked egg custard, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I like it. Don’t try making it with fresh bread, it really is best when it’s a bit dry, otherwise it’ll just form a soggy mess, which isn’t what you want. The aim is to get crispy bits of bread on the top and then the baked custardy bit, softer bread and fruit underneath.
Bread & Butter Pudding
To make this one a bit healthier and because I was making it for myself, I just used the following:
- 2 slices spiced fruit loaf, cut (or actually broken, it was a bit brittle but that doesn’t matter) into smaller pieces to fit the dish
- 2 tbsp (50g) acacia honey (rather than 50g sugar)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 250 ml skimmed milk
- 1 large egg
- 2 tbsp thick cut marmalade
- Clover spread for greasing the dish. Makes no difference to taste and massively lower fat & saturated fat than butter. Less than a teaspoon.
I followed the recipe method except for not adding any extra fruit and drizzling honey over rather than sprinkling sugar. I deliberately drizzled the crusts to get a caramelised effect. The marmalade I use is a homemade one of forgotten origin. As marmalade goes, it’s appalling: too thick and sticky to do anything other than tear bread or toast, but add a bit of boiling water, stir it up with a chopstick until it thins and suddenly you have a handy marmalade syrup that can be added to all sorts of stuff and which isn’t overly sweet. I poured that over the bread before adding the eggs and milk.
Half an hour later (190C / Gas 5 / 375F) and it was done. When I took it out of the oven it was risen and golden. I didn’t get that on camera because I was too busy trying to resist the temptation to have some. It needs a good ten minutes to cool enough before eating it is anything other than hazardous.
Not one that you could really freeze, but you can throw it together so quickly it’s not really required. Just so long as you have the eggs and milk (or cream) and some bread and fruit, you can have it prepared by the time the oven reaches temperature. Is you’re really pushing it on the stale bread, you probably want to give it five or ten minutes to soak in the egg and milk before you put it in the oven, to ensure it’s not dried out.
Bread: Seed and grain loaf in a bread machine
Not a recipe here, just a note that while the Panasonic bread maker I use has a recipe for a seeded loaf, it assumes you’re adding the seeds in separately. For my loaf, I used Allinson seed and grain (white) bread flour on the normal setting for a white loaf (basic, bake, 4 hours, light crust) and it bakes perfectly every time. It’s lighter in texture than a granary loaf but a bit better for you than a plain white. There’s a wholemeal version if you prefer that, and that bakes on the equivalent wholemeal setting.
In trying to find the original Panasonic recipe online, I found out that David Cameron also owns a Panasonic after that shock/horror revelation that he had a bread maker. Bet he didn’t get as good a deal as I did on mine… Seriously, though, at around £150 full price it’s not cheap but I’ve only had a single duff loaf and that was entirely my own fault for forgetting to put the paddle in the pan before running the programme. I’ve had it for a few years now and it’s still going strong, so I consider it money well spent.