Bread and Butter Pudding is a classic dessert beloved of cooks the world over. It is one of the ultimate comfort foods, the kind of dessert that makes folks sigh with delight when they hear it is on the menu. It’s also very easy to make, a great way to love your leftovers and avoid food waste.
Dried out, past its best bread shines in bread pudding, becoming a pillowy custard-drenched treat that begs you to eat it. There are lots of recipes for bread pudding out there, from Cinnamon Apple Pear Bread Pudding to Ginger Jam Bread and Butter Pudding and even Mincemeat Bread and Butter Pudding. The wonderful thing is, you can make bread and butter pudding from virtually any bread and flavour it to suit whatever ingredients you have on hand.
The history and traditions of bread and butter pudding vary from country to country and cook to cook. Some chop the bread into cubes before soaking it in custard, some make sandwiches with slices of bread and cut them in various shapes and sizes, and others leave out the butter entirely. I prefer the sandwich method, layering slices of bread thickly with butter and jam or preserves, cutting them in halves, quarters, or triangles (depending on the size and shape of the bread) and layering them in a baking dish.
My bread and butter pudding recipe allows you to use whatever sort of bread you have on hand and whatever sort of jam. In the case of the recipe I photographed I used a beautiful loaf of walnut and raisin bread from our local baker and some spiced Christmas jam approaching its best before date. Liqueur or juice soaked raisins or other dried fruit make a lovely optional extra. Or spike your bread and butter pudding with a couple of tablespoons of liqueur, simply by sprinkling it over the bread before you add the custard. Be careful not to add too much though, you don’t want to dilute the thick, voluptuous custard.
Bread and butter pudding really is easy. Simply slice the bread, spreading the slices with butter and jam to make jam sandwiches. Then cut the sandwiches as desired and layer them in a baking dish. Sprinkle with liqueur soaked dried fruit or simply drizzle some liqueur over top. Then whip up the custard, pour over top, sprinkle with sugar and spices and bake.
I often make bread and butter pudding about an hour before guests arrive, storing it in the fridge. I bring it out to warm up a bit and then put it in the oven to bake as I serve the appetiser. This ensures it will be ready just in time for dessert. It is very forgiving though, and will sit on a cooling rack quite happily for a while before serving. Leftovers are easy to reheat in the microwave and I even know people who like to eat bread and butter pudding cold!
This recipe fills an oval dish roughly 13 x 9 inches but you can use a slightly smaller or differently shaped pan to obtain a thicker custard. The possibilities are endless. What bread and jam will you use?
- Leftover bread to fill a baking dish
- about ⅓ cup butter
- about ¼ cup jam or preserves
- ¼ cup raisins or chopped dried fruit (optional)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons brandy, bourbon, rum or liqueur (optional)
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup sugar, divided
- 2 cups double cream
- ¾ cup milk (full fat (whole) or semi-skimmed (2%), not skimmed)
- spices to suit your recipe - I like to use cinnamon, ginger and/or nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C or 170° for fan ovens).
- Grease a baking dish anywhere from 8 inches square to 13 x 9 inches with some of the butter.
- If using raisins or dried fruit, I recommend soaking them in brandy, bourbon, rum or liqueur (or juice if you are teetotal). To speed up the process, simply place the dried fruit in a microwave safe container and cover with the liquor. Cover the container and microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove and set aside to cool a bit.
- Make sandwiches with the bread, butter and jam or preserves.
- Cut the sandwiches in halves, quarters or triangles, depending on the size of the bread, and layer in the baking dish.
- If using dried fruit, sprinkle it over the bread now along with any of the remaining liquor, letting the fruit fall down between the bread OR sprinkle the bread with up to 3 tablespoons of brandy, bourbon, rum or your favourite liqueur. Either is optional.
- Put the egg yolks, the egg and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a bowl and whisk together.
- Add the cream and milk and whisk some more.
- Carefully pour the custard over the bread.
- Leave to soak for at least 10 minutes or up to an hour in the fridge. (Let the pudding warm up a bit out of the fridge before placing the baking dish in the oven.)
- Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar with your chosen spice(s) and sprinkle over top of the bread and custard.
- Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes or until the custard has set but still has a bit of softness to it. Timing will depend on the size of your baking dish.
- Allow to sit of about 10 minutes before serving as the custard will be very hot.
- Serve as it is, or with cream, more custard or ice cream.
If you enjoyed this recipe you may also like Blueberry Bread and Butter Pudding.