Well with James asking me so sweetly (pun intended) if I would write some more food posts, I thought I would take a look at puddings as this is the month when puddings are a highlight of many a Xmas lunch or dinner.
First off, the classic bread and butter pudding, which is considered by some people to be stodgy and too filling. One of my favourites from years ago, when I was a Pastry Chef in London, was Anton Mossiman’s version. He was Head Chef at the Dorchester in the 70s and early 80s. Instead of slices of stale bread he used those light white finger rolls you can find in packs of 6 or 8 in the supermarkets.
The rolls were sliced into discs and buttered. Put into a dish in a single layer with some raisins soaked in brandy. Then a very rich egg custard made with cream was poured over it and it was baked slowly in a bain marie. Once the custard was set, the pudding was allowed to cool to room temperature, brushed with hot apricot jam and dusted with icing sugar. If ever a pudding could be called light, it was this one. A modern, almost nouvelle cuisine, version.
Another version I like to make is using Brioche. You can find Brioche loaves in most supermarkets. It is really only an enriched white bread, usually with added butter and/or egg and extra sugar. I bought some last weekend to make eggy bread with for breakfast (more on that later) and had half a loaf to play with.
I soaked some raisins and chopped dried apricots in dark rum by heating in the microwave until simmering with a saucer over the bowl and then left for a few hours to soak up the alcohol. Sliced the Brioche, buttered each slice and cut into triangles.
I buttered an oblong dish, scattered some fruit over the bottom, layered the buttered Brioche slices and then scattered the remaining fruit over the top. I made an egg custard with 4 eggs, 2oz of sugar, ½ pint of double cream and ½ pint of milk. Poured over the Brioche and pressed down the slices into the egg custard and then left to soak it up.
Roasting a chicken tonight so once that is out of the oven I can pop in the pudding to bake for 30-40 mins until the custard has set. I do like to finish off mine with an apricot glaze and icing sugar but that is optional. Great on its own or with more cream if you’re up for it, some more custard or even icecream. Best eaten when at room temperature than very hot in my opinion.
I’ll be buying another Brioche loaf nearer to Xmas as we like eggy bread (French Toast) with hot berries as a light breakfast on Xmas morning that won’t fill us up before the main meal later that day.
Just mix 1 egg, 100ml milk and a tablespoon of icing sugar together. Slice the Brioche loaf and dip the slices in the eggy mixture. Melt some butter in a frying pan and fry for 2-3 mins on each side until golden brown. Serve with yoghurt and some hot berries. I use a mix of frozen dark cherries, raspberries and blueberries. I also like to sprinkle my eggy bread with a mix of caster sugar and cinnamon.
If feeling really indulgent, or your name is Nigella, use some flavoured crème fraiche instead of yoghurt. You can find it with Calvados or Brandy in the shops at this time of year. Can even serve this as a pudding and kids love helping to make it.
Note: It takes 4 whole eggs to set a pint of liquid or 8-10 yolks if making a crème brulée. I use double yolked eggs from our local market so I only need to use 4-5 eggs. This also keeps the amount of leftover egg whites to a minimum. Apart from meringues, egg whites can be used to make macaroon biscuits or langue du chat.
If anyone has a pudding they’d like me to post about or wants to ask any questions, just comment below. Quite happy to include baking questions on that too i.e. how to make mince pies a bit different from the usual ones?