“Good, old-fashioned ways keep hearts sweet, heads sane and hands busy”, said Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women. And I have found so much deeper meaning and truth in this while the whole world has been in lockdown due to the Covid 19 epidemic. I have been going back to so many old recipes and cooking or baking them not only because I consider working in the kitchen therapeutic, but also because these dishes have been our comfort food in these taxing and high tension times.
One such recipe is the good old bread and butter pudding which never fails to satisfy the sweet cravings. It is something my mom used to bake and I have very fond childhood memories associated with it. I conduct bread baking workshops and now with the current situation, I do so online. So what do I do with all the bread that I baked for the workshop? I suddenly remembered the traditional bread and butter pudding from my mum’s kitchen and decided to give it a try.
The bread I used was one day old dinner rolls. But you could use a sandwich loaf or buns that are available in the shops and bakeries. You could use any stale bread as it is going to be soaked in a lot of liquid any ways. The bread slices are buttered, I prefer to use salted butter as the salt enhances the taste. They can be trimmed from the sides but I prefer to keep the edges on as they add to the flavour and also look beautiful. The slices are arranged in a baking a dish in an attractive pattern. Egg custard is poured over the arranged bread slices and the dish is baked in a water bath in the oven. Quite simple isn’t it? Here is the recipe:
- Bread slices – 250 g
- Salted Butter melted(Amul) -75 g
For the custard :
- Eggs – 4
- Sugar – 125 g
- Vanilla – 1/2 tbsp
- Milk – 500 ml
For the topping :
- Cinnamon – 1/2 tsp
- Nutmeg – 1/2 tsp
- Brown Sugar to sprinkle
- Slice the dinner rolls into thin slices. If you are using sandwich bread cut each slice into half diagonally. Butter both the sides.
- Arrange the slices in a buttered baking casserole overlapping each other slightly inclined.
- To make the custard, break the eggs and mix together with sugar and vanilla till well combined. Add the milk and combine well.
- Pour the custard over the arranged bread slices. Push the bread to soak in the custard and refrigerate for an hour so that the bread soaks up the custard.
- Mix together brown sugar with the cinnamon and nutmeg powders and sprinkle over the top.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 175 degrees C for an hour or so in a hot water bath.
- Serve warm or cold with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
I prefer to eat the pudding warm. But the choice is yours. I also used cow’s milk for my custard as I prefer the custard loosely set. For a more richer pudding, you could use whole milk or a combination of whole milk and cream. Also raisins and black currants can be added and the bread slices can be spread with jam along with the butter. There can be so many variations! I prefer it the old fashioned way though. Old is gold after all !