Update: 25 September 2009 – I’m looking for your thoughts on the next bread and butter pudding:
Minimum effort with maximum results… that’s exactly what this bread pudding is all about.
While bread pudding started as a frugal dish which was a good way to use up stale bread, this has evolved into a pretty deluxe dessert – this version (which I have adapted from Gary Rhodes, New British Classics) is almost creme brulee like in texture and a decadent end to a winter meal.
The recipe also reheats well, if you are lucky to have leftovers, 15 to 20 seconds in the microwave will do the trick!
1 Loaf Brioche, cut into about 18 slices and crust removed
175 g caster sugar
300 ml cream
250 ml milk
1 vanilla bean, scraped
80g salted butter – soft
4 pieces pitted dates, sliced
Place egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until pale. Mix the milk, cream and vanilla bean in a pot and bring the mixture to a simmer. Pour a fourth of the scalded milk into the egg yolk mixture and whisk. Pour the rest of the mixture on to the egg yolk mixture and whisk continuously. strain through a fine mesh strainer. Set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, butter the brioche slices and cover the bottom of an over proof dish (I used a 9 inch round cake dish) with a third of the bread. Sprinkle half of the sultanas and half of the pitted dates. Add another third of the brioche and then top again with the rest of the sultanas and dates. Finally, top with the rest of the buttered brioche.
Pour half of the custard mixture and let rest for 30 minutes. Then pour the rest of the custard mixture and let soak for at least 1 hour. When ready to use, pre-heat your oven to 130c and bake the pudding in a bain marie for 45 minutes. To serve, sprinkle with more caster sugar and torch to caramelize the top.
Serve with vanilla ice cream while the pudding is still warm.