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Bread-and-butter Pudding

½ stick (2 oz; 50g) unsalted butter
1/3 stale baguette
300ml double cream
2 eggs
3 dsp sugar
vanilla or nutmeg, and a few rasins and sultanas

The bread should be good, and plain—and slightly stale. Don't try this with ersatz bread! You need a well-structured bread that will absorb the custard without disintegrating—bread with plenty of gluten. I use 1cm slices from a sourdough baguette, or thinner slices from a regular loaf, cut into quarters.

Slice the bread. Butter the bread sparingly on both sides. Arrange in an oven-proof dish, with a few rasins and sultanas hidden between the slices, and the crusts sticking up.

The custard could be made less rich, with milk instead of cream, or downright indulgent, with six egg yolks instead of the two whole eggs.

Beat the eggs with 2 dsp of sugar. Scald the cream (with split vanilla pod if available). Beat the hot scalded cream gradually into the beaten eggs, and pour this custard over the bread. Make sure each slice is well-dunked, then arrange so that the crusts stick out. Leave aside for 20 minutes, or so, while you preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C).

Dust the protruding crusts with the remaining sugar. Bake in a bain-Marie for 20 minutes—or until the custard is just setting in the centre. Caramelise the sugared crusts under a quick grill if required, then serve.

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