Who has memories of a traditional bread and butter pudding. Maybe stodgy and heavy served with cream in the darkness of a Grandparent’s home mid-winter. That is my initial memory of a bread and butter pudding. Before it became trendy, something to cook with creativity and a reason to save up bread to build an excuse for a pudding!
Nowadays people make this pudding from sourdough, or raisin bread, hot cross buns or brioche. You may choose to stud it with chocolate or sultanas, dried fruit or jam. But you will always need butter.
Butter is better
(listen in to a radio chat with Jim Mora on RNZ National all about butter here)
Butter is better. Who knows where this little saying comes from. Potentially it was in response to adverts and a whole change in Western culture when it was clever to eat manufactured fake butter. Do you remember those little plastic containers with a bright yellow sludge that promoted all the health benefits from said over-processed yuk! Well as a cook who relishes the flavour of butter I impress upon you the importance of choosing real butter.
It comes from cream. And you taste the difference when butter is cultured and churned. There are farmers and chefs who taste the pasture through butter that is produced from a specific herd – and I can believe it!
Top Tips for Home
If you buy delicious high fat butter for home, keep some of it out on the bench to always be spreadable. Some of the truly gourmet kinds of butter will be spreadable directly from the fridge – but if not then it’s handy to have some sitting at room temperature. If you are in NZ try Bellefield (they have an online store too!)
Flavour your butter
Whip your butter up in a thermomix or food processor. Add favourite flavourings such as soft herbs like thyme or sage; extra sea salt; lemon rind or even chocolate. You can create butter to match the flavour profile of your meal. Store them in the freezer to add as desired. They are super simple to make – check out these simple ideas for starters.
Whip your butter
Whip the butter up adding in a little milk if needed to soften it. This is the perfect accompaniment to bread or vegetables if you are serving a sharing-style meal. The butter can be presented in a ramekin and looks pretty as well as being easy to spread.
If you wish to make butter from scratch then give this recipe from Epicurious a go – simple instructions and a video to follow too.
Make a pudding at home:
Traditional Bread and Butter Pudding
- 600 millilitre cream
- 1 cup milk
- 1/3 cup caster sugar
- 1 vanilla bean split
- 4 eggs
- Best butter 100g melted
- Currants and/or sultanas 250g
- Caster sugar 75g
- Lemon grated rind of 1
- Mixed spice ground ½ level tsp
- 10 Slices White or chosen Bread
Preheat oven to moderately slow, 160°C
In a medium saucepan, combine cream, milk and caster sugar.
Scrape seeds from vanilla bean and add seeds to pan with pod.
Stir over medium heat 2-3 minutes, until sugar dissolves and mixture is hot. Remove and discard the pod.
Transfer mixture to a large jug. Cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs until frothy. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture. Set aside.
Grease an 18 x 23cm deep (2 litre capacity) ovenproof dish with a little of the melted butter.
Measure the dried fruit, sugar, lemon rind and spice into a bowl and toss to mix well.
Cut each bread slice into 3.
Take enough bread strips to cover the base of the dish and dip each strip briefly into melted butter. (shake to remove excess).
Lay them in the prepared dish. Sprinkle with half the dried fruit mixture.
Repeat the layering, finishing with a final layer of buttered bread.
Pour over the custard mixture. Allow to soak for 15 minutes or up to an hour. (or in the fridge for up to 6 hours)
Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crisp and the pudding slightly puffed up.
You can butter the bread with softened butter rather than dipping into melted butter. If you choose this way then have the first layer of butter facing down into the dish and the rest of the layers with the butter facing up.
If you want to cook it just like Nana would then: Place the dish in a larger baking dish. Add enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the dish. Dot with extra butter. Bake for 40-45 minutes