Sunday, 2 March 2014
Can there be any more comforting pudding on earth than Bread and Butter Pudding? I think not.
Essentially designed to use up all the stale bread in the house, this quintessential British pudding was created by an epicurian of genius proportions back somewhere in the 17th century, having evolved from it's tasty ancestor . . . bread pudding. Bread pudding used up stale bread as well, and along with a varieity of sweet spices, currants and raisins was simply steamed and then devoured. When more luxurious items like eggs, butter and cream became more readily available, it was only a matter of course before they found their way into the mix, and we ended up with the deliciously tasty dessert that we have come to know and love today.
I am always one for trying and adapting things to the currant situation in my larder. I have made this lovely pudding with dates and nuts. I've also used stale brioche and studded the pud with chunks of Green & Blacks milk chocolate. After Christmas is all over, it's wonderful made with the last of the Pannetone . . . stale gingerbread and chunks of roasted apple . . . I've deliciously been there.
Essentially, it's the perfect pud to use up all sorts of stale bread, cakes and loaves . . .
Today I came home from the shops armed with several punnets of juicy, dark, ruby coloured plums . . . on offer at two punnets for three quid. How could I resist?
We just love plums in this house, and they looked so beautiful sitting there in their little baskets, just begging to be bought.
I've done plum cakes and tarts recently and today I thought . . . mmmm . . . Bread and Butter Pudding with Plums . . . why not?
*Plum Bread and Butter Pudding*
What could be any better than Bread and Butter Pudding? Why Plum Bread and Butter Pudding of course! Rich and creamy and indulgently delicious, not to mention stogged full of tasty roasted plums. What's not to like?
1 punnet of dark red plums
(about 8 plums)
1 cup of caster sugar, plus a bit to spoon into the plums (190g)
1/2 loaf of coarse stale bread sliced
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (335ml)
1/2 cup of whole milk (120 ml)
4 large free range eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla paste (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
Pre-heat the oven to 200*C/400*F. Wash the plums and cut in half. Remove the stones and then place them into a baking dish, skin side down. Place approximately 1/2 tsp of caster sugar into the centre of each. Bake in the heated oven for 15 minutes or so, just until the juices begin to run. Remove from the oven and set aside. Turn the oven temperature down to 180*C/350*F.
Trim all the crusts off of the bread. (I always give them to the birds) Cut the bread into 1 inch wide strips. Butter them on both sides generously. Lightly butter a 6 by 8 inch glass baking dish.
Whisk together the eggs and the sugar, whisking until the sugar is almost dissolved. Whisk the milk and the cream together in a large beaker along with the vanilla paste. Slowly whisk in the egg mixture, whisking until you have a nice creamy custard like solution. Sit aside.
Place the bread into the baking dish, by placing three strips across, almost upright, but not quite. Place a plum half on each. Place another three strips in front of the plums. Place another three plum halves on each. Repeat until all the bread strips and plum halves have been used. I also cut several strips into smaller pieces and tuck them in all the way around the pudding, kind of like a frame.
Pour the custard slowly onto the bread in the pudding, in and around the plums. Allow the bread to absorb the custard, before pouring on more. Add custard until the bread can't absorb any more. Drizzle any plum juices over top and then place into the oven. Baked for 30 to 35 minutes, until the sides of the pudding are set and the top is nicely puffed and lightly browned. The centre should still be a bit jiggly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to warm. Cut into slabs to serve. We like to serve this with additional cream for pouring over top.