For many people across the UK this rib-sticking pudding is incredibly nostalgic. For a taste of my childhood try my classic bread and butter pudding recipe below.
A childhood favourite
“bread and butter pudding” doesn’t sound all that appetising, neither does the list of ingredients. Bread, butter, milk, maybe eggs, fruit and spices depending on the recipe. Its clear that this is a recipe born out of harder times. It started as a way to use up hunks of stale bread and over the years has developed in to something more decadent.
When I was a child I loved spreading thick globs of butter on either side of the bread; always from a white sliced loaf, cut into triangles. You would get covered in the process as both sides became slippery with the butter.
I’d carefully arrange each slice so that they overlapped slightly, the point end of the slice sticking out of the dish. Then I’d carefully pour over the milk and egg mixture before topping with some sugar and baking in the oven.
We didn’t often use dried fruits – I think I had a slight aversion to raisins – but we sould sometimes check in chocolate chips found at the back of our baking cupboard. These days I’m more at ease with the idea of using raisins and sultanas which help to sweeten up the dish.
Reinvented for modern tastes
Its rare these days that you will find us buying a loaf of ready sliced bread. While I don’t go so far as Nigel Slater does and use sourdough, I do make my bread and butter pudding with a white loaf bought from the bakers up the road.
Rather than triangular slices I tear off chunks and add the butter to the bread once its already in the oven dish. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say I just place dollops of butter around the slices. This pudding is often made when its cold out and I’m desperate for something warm and filling for pudding. I don’t have time to be carefully buttering slices of bread.
In goes the dried fruit and I pour over a rich custard mix. I’ll always use cream if I can. This pudding is so moist and sticky there’s no need to serve with custard or extra cream. Vanilla also goes into the custard, as does nutmeg. These add another dimension to the dish which my childhood favourite never had.
Sometimes I will even add a splash of booze! Especially if its nearing Christmas.
Last but not least comes the brown sugar sprinkled on top. I love the caremlised, crisp top this creates. Its the perfect contrast to the sponge like bread, soaked in custard underneath.
Each mouthful is full of nostalgia. I wouldn’t have bread and butter pudding any other way!
Classic Bread and Butter Pudding
- 100 grams softened butter
- 100 grams dried fruit e.g. raisins, saltanas, cranberries, chopped apricots etc
- 3 tbsp alcohol of your choice optional
- 10 slices white bread
- 12 tbsp marmalade
- 3 eggs
- 3 tbsp caster sugar
- 350 millilitres double cream
- 350 millilitres full fat milk
- 1 vanilla pod seeds only
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
Preheat your oven to 180°C (gas mark 4).
Grease an oven dish with some of the butter.
If using alcohol, soak the dried fruit in the alcohol and heat gently in a pan, or in the microwave for 30secs-1min or until they had started to absorb the liquid.
Rip the bread into chunks of roughly equal size and overlap in the oven dish.
Cut the butter into 1 inch pieces.
Dot the butter about the bread, tucking under the bits tha overlap.
Do the same with spoons of the marmalade.
Sprinkle over the dried fruit and alcohol, again tucking some in between the pieces of bread if you can.
Whisk together the eggs, caster sugar, cream, milk, vanilla and nutmeg to make a custard.
Then pour the custard mix over the bread and leave it to soak (for at least 10 minutes but up to half an hour if possible).
Finally, sprinkle over the brown sugar.
Place the oven dish into the centre of your oven and cook for 45minutes or until the custard has begun to set (it should still have a slight wobble to it when you take it out).
Let the pudding rest for 10minutes then serve warm.
The alcohol in this recipe is optional but if you do choose to add it in, you can use any alcohol you like. Rum, amaretto, brandy and even advocaat/eggnog work well!
Are there any puddings from your childhood that you still enjoy today? Let me know in the comments!