Friday, 25 January 2013

A bread and butter pudding for the snow

Bread and butter: so simple, yet the stuff of childish dreams. As delicious-sounding in literature as any cake - especially when drawn from a wicker luncheon basket and laid out on a cloth with jam, or cold chicken and roast beef. Milly Molly Mandy and Billy Blunt gobbled all theirs up on their fishing excursion and it’s little wonder – all someone has to do is say those three words together and I am thinking of teatime (and forever of Grandpa, lord of the tea table with his packet of plain chocolate digestives – neatly secured each day with an elastic band).

Clearly, bread and butter pudding has less to do with butter than it does with bread (not to mention the eggs, sugar and milk) but the very fact that those two happily-wed words are in the recipe makes it a winner in my eyes. Last September on the eve of a friend’s wedding I was lucky enough to be party to his pre-wedding family dinner and thereby to the most fantasmical (that’s fantastic with an extra O) pudding. Although the portion control didn’t exist and my bowlful could have felled an adolescent elephant I nobly ate my way through, amongst the dairy every which way, a warm wedge of white chocolate and whisky bread & butter pudding. INCREDIBLE.

After a long walk on Saturday, or feet crumping through the fresh snow making dreams of mountain adventures, we felt we deserved a treat. This pudding, crisp on top and snowy light within was perfect foil to the conditions. It’s adapted from a recipe that uses croissants (which may be amazing – but I felt somewhat superfluous. After all, we’re supposed to be on some sort of regime until February)… I went in heavier on the whisky – on a medicinal bent you understand  -  yet lighter on the sugar, as we were all chilled to our cores and because white chocolate is sweet enough, thank you.

This is dedicated to my dear, pudding-partial Grandpa. He would have loved it, crowned with plenty of cream. He might have even had a second helping too.

Whisky and White Chocolate Bread & Butter Pudding

500ml milk
500ml double cream
A few drops of vanilla essence
3 eggs
5 egg yolks
150g caster sugar
8-10 slices of white bread, crusts removed and cut in half into triangles
25g sultanas
25g butter, melted
175g white chocolate, smashed into little pieces in its wrapper
4 tablespoons whisky
55g  marmalade (didn’t have apricot jam, but the extra orange taste is a winner)
icing sugar, to dust


Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Pour the milk and cream into a pan, add the vanilla essence and bring slowly to the boil.
Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl with the egg yolks and sugar and beat together until pale and fluffy. This bit is actually quite important as your pudding will be light rather than stodgy.
Lay the bread over the base of an oblong ovenproof dish, slightly overlapping each piece. Sprinkle with the sultanas and pour over the melted butter.
When the cream mixture has reached boiling point, take it off the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Add the egg mixture and white chocolate to the cream and stir well. Leave for a few minutes to let the chocolate melt, stirring occasionally.
Add the whisky to the cream mixture and strain it all through a sieve over the bread. Let the bread soak it all up nicely, before covering the dish with foil.
Bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, or until almost set.
Remove from the oven, coat the top with the marmalade and dust with icing sugar. Either brown the top with a cheffy blowtorch or place under a grill or into a hot oven for a few minutes before serving. Wait if you have to - it must be warm, not hot.

bread and butter pudding

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