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Baking 52: Bread and Butter Pudding

January 3, 2014

We had an uneaten baguette, rare in this household where bread and our fridge vanishes into food blackholes called teenagers, so I sliced it up and left it in a half-covered bowl to go stale faster.

I read several bread-and-butter recipes but decided that what I really wanted was to make a pudding that required very little preparation and could skip stages, so I cobbled together different versions.

First, I buttered the slices, and then tore them into 1″ sized pieces. I would skip that next time and try soaking the bread for longer because the soaked pieces fall apart much easier while stirring in the jam. I buttered the dish (a cast iron dutch oven) generously, so buttering the bread was redundant too. One recipe suggested pan-frying the bread in butter which sounds insanely delicious, but time-consuming and an extra thousand calories.

I had a 250g jar of double cream, so I matched that with the same amount of whole milk and four eggs. Some recipes use just the yolks, but that tastes too rich to me. I left out the sugar because I was going to stir in jam, but next time I would add about 2 tablespoons of sugar so the custard was very slightly sweet. I forgot to add vanilla, which I would definitely add a teaspoonful next time. I put it in the thermomix for 5 minutes on 90 degrees at speed four. In a pan, you would just heat this gently and stir it. You don’t have to cook the custard all the way – you can just mix it and leave it to cook in the dish itself. I warmed it because it mixed more smoothly, and it would melt in the sugar better.

Then I poured it over the bread – I used a large pot so the bread was only 1-2″ deep, and I think in general, bread and butter pudding is a shallow dish because you need a crisp brown top and a set inside, and in a deep dish by the time the inside set, the top would be burned.

Then the bit I liked the most -jam! I had some raspberry jam left, so we used that. I would buy apricot jam for this, but really any good jam will do. I put big spoonfuls on top of the soaked pudding and gently stirred it in because I wanted to have little spots and swirls of jam, not entirely blended. I would use about 1/2 jar of jam proportionally next time. So much nicer than sultanas or dried fruit. I sprinkled nutmeg over the top – one recipe suggested brown sugar that I might try with cinnamon instead.

Then I put the big dish into a roasting pan, filled the pan with water and very gingerly put the whole sheet in the middle of the oven at 170 celsius. Next time, I put the pan and dish in first, then pour in the water! I had water sloshing everywhere.

I left it to cook for about 45 minutes, checking every 5 minutes at the end. Once it looked nice and crispy, we took it out and tucked in. It was really good – not perfect, but solidly good. And I can report that leftovers reheat nicely for breakfast!

Next time, I’m going to serve it with either cold thin cream to pour over the hot pudding, or possibly greek yogurt. I’d like to try making it in little pots set closer to the grill as well so they cook faster.

I was really happy to make this and see how easy a water bath pudding actually is. Here’s hoping my kids leave some more bread to go stale!

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