I love recipes that use up leftovers and to me there is no better way to use up stale bread than Bread and Butter pudding. If you keep chickens and have a surplus of eggs too, even better. Add some milk, butter, cream if you have it, and layer with some seasonal fruit and you have an absolutely delicious but simple and thrifty desert. Once considered ‘poverty food’, modern bread and butter pudding tends to be much more imaginative and luxurious, but it’s certainly no diet option so we tend to have it as an occasional treat. I make many versions of this British classic, but tend to steer clear of the traditional raisin and sultana version, which as a child I thought the school dinner ladies made using plump dried-out houseflies (I may have had a slightly overactive imagination!!). This version, adapted from Gary Rhodes classic Bread and Butter pudding uses mulberries, with an orange and ginger butter to add acidity and depth to the sometimes oversweet and bland berries. I like my bread and butter pudding soft, rich and gooey, with a Crème brûlée style caramelized surface, but if you prefer a crispier pudding with more texture, see the tips below to adapt the recipe to suit your preferences.
Tips for making bread pudding
- White bread works best, but you can use baguette, homemade bread, brioche, croissants, scones, panettone, sourdough, etc. too
- Do not use fresh bread, it needs to be stale to effectively soak up the custard mixture. If you don’t have stale bread you can speed up the process by placing sliced bread on cooling trays overnight or by baking fast at 180 ° C and removing it from the oven before it browns.
- If you like crusty bits and texture, leave the crusts on the bread. I personally prefer a softer smoother gooey version and give the crust to my livestock
- If you prefer a crispier pudding use whole eggs, but if you like richer more custardy pudding use only yolks
- Missing out the 20-minute soak also leads to a crisper texture
- For a smoother, silkier textured custard, bake within a roasting tin 3/4 filled with warm water
- For a less rich version substitute the cream for milk, and add an extra egg yolk and slightly increase the cooking time
- If you don’t have caster sugar, just grind granulated sugar slightly in a blender or food processor. If you grind too much you end up with icing sugar, but that works too.
- 12 slices stale white bread
- 8 egg yolks
- 300ml cream
- 300ml milk
- 175g caster sugar
- 200g mulberries
Orange and Ginger Butter
- 50g butter
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
Step 1. Preheat the oven to 180° C
Step 2. Cream together the butter, ginger, orange juice and orange zest and set aside
Step 3. Grease a 2-litre oven dish with butter (I use a 20cm x 20cm dish)
Step 4. Cut the crusts from the bread, then butter them with the orange and ginger butter
Step 5. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar
Step 6. Simmer the milk and cream on the stove top
Step 7. Sieve the milk and cream slowly into egg mixture stirring constantly
Step 8. Place a layer of the buttered bread into the bottom of the dish and scatter a layer of mulberries over the top
Step 9. Place another layer of the bread over then scatter a second layer of mulberries onto it.
Step 10. Place a final layer of buttered bread over the top.
Step 11. Pour over the warm egg, sugar, milk and cream mixture over the layered bread, then leave to soak for 20 minutes
Step 12. Place the dish into an oven dish containing warm water then place into the oven, this will give the pudding a lighter texture.
Step 13. After 20 -30 minutes when the pudding begins to set, sprinkle a layer of sugar over the surface of the pudding then gently grill until it has a crunchy golden glaze on top.
Step 14. Cut and serve the pudding, warm, room temperature or chilled. I like it best served warm with a drizzling of cream or ice-cream or Louisiana style with a bourbon sauce, but it’s rich and delicious on its own.