Bread and Butter Pudding

I think I could live off bread. What a peculiar sentence. I mean I think I could continue to live/subsist/scrape through (delete as appropriate) if I limited myself to only eating bread everyday. Bread in all its lovely mutant forms. I like pasta, I like noodles, I like rice and I like potatoes but I could substitute all those to live in eternal bread happiness. No more ravioli, no more ramen, no more paella and no more chip...Okay maybe I overstated the point but bread makes up a sizeable part of my diet (and there's nothing diet about it). I dream about crispy, pillowy (still going with this adjective), light and airy bread. The intense savoury bubbles and the comforting texture of a good loaf is my idea of simple undemanding bliss.

One of my favourite breads is the sweet egg-yolk-enriched French classic: brioche. One of the best examples I've ever had was at the renowned Poilane boulangerie in Paris. It was a thing of simple design which excelled in the smaller details (beautifully darkened crust, buttery smooth crumb). Although brioche is hard to resist I often get left with half a loaf (maybe more) going stale and in need of quick use and one of my favourite ways to use it up is in my bread and butter pudding. There are three essential components to elevating a bread and butter pudding into a top-class dessert and they are: 1) the 'custard' that sets this has to have an intense vanilla flavour and have a smooth mouth feel; 2) the pudding needs a crispy sugar-covered top to give a different texture to what's underneath and an added sweetness (I haven't included too much sugar in the milk mixture); 3) a personal touch - mine is soaking the sultanas with rose water (amaretto works too, especially if you elect to use ground almonds in the recipe). Check these three things off and you have your own delicious dessert that you can show off this Christmas.

300g brioche
100g butter
75g sultanas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons rose water
100g caster sugar
25g soft brown sugar
25g ground almonds
600g milk
2 large eggs

Butter a baking dish and preheat your oven to 200C. Soak the sultanas in the rose water and a little sugar for 15-20 minutes. Slice your brioche into 1cm slices and butter both sides. Drain the sultanas and place them at the bottom of the baking tray before layering on the brioche slices. Whisk the eggs and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy and then add the milk. Add the vanilla extract and mix thoroughly before pouring over the layered bread (make sure to get all the top slices of brioche wet). Mix the brown sugar and ground almonds together and scatter on the surface. Dot any remaining butter on top. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until the 'custard' has set and the pudding has expanded. Take off the foil and brown under a grill. Let it cool down and serve it warm with ice cream. This is a perfect alternative Christmas dessert.


15 December 2009 at 22:53 Phoo-D said...

I daydream of tasting bread from Poilane one day! Brioche is a buttery marvel and your bread pudding looks absolutely delicious.

20 December 2009 at 21:02 M. A. Salha said...

Thanks! I think a trip to Paris is worth it alone for the quality of bread you can get. Oh and cheese. Simple things elevated to something beautiful.

24 December 2009 at 17:12 Angelina said...

Thank you for this, I am going to make it right away!!!

Merry Christmas and a Healthy Happy New Year

29 December 2009 at 19:20 M. A. Salha said...

Thank you Angelina. Hope everyone had a good Christmas and this New Year is even better!

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