Modern classic puddings

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?

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7 comments for “Modern classic puddings

  1. December 12, 2010 at 17:59

    I haven’t made bread and butter pudding for years but I cut the crusts off and butter both sides of the bread slices before reassembling them as a loaf and placing them snugly in a casserole, and pouring custard over them. Cooked in a hot oven it was as soft and fluffy as a soufflé.

    My favourite pudding is Sussex Pond Pudding, which we have likewise not cooked for years.

  2. JD
    December 12, 2010 at 18:00

    stop it!
    I’m drooling again 🙂

    eggy bread tomorrow for breakfast…
    haven’t had that for years, thanks for the reminder
    (with brioche sounds like a good idea – think I’ll try that)

  3. tomsmith
    December 12, 2010 at 18:08

    Those sound great! I’m going to try the bread and butter pudding.

    Do you have a good recipe for a baked rice pudding? MY Gran used to make one but I only know how to do it on the stove top.

  4. December 12, 2010 at 18:47

    This is the most scrumptious post here in a long time.

  5. Rossa
    December 12, 2010 at 19:47

    I’ll do a post on a variety of rice puddings including a couple of unusual variations and a baked one. Watch this blog for more info.

  6. Rossa
    December 12, 2010 at 19:54

    Love Sussex Pond Pudding and what a great way to make a bread and butter pudding. I’ll have to have a go at that one.

    I also do a chocolate one using pain au chocolat and melting some dark chocolate and stirring it into the egg mix before baking it. To be really naughty just add a few chocolate chips or chop up a bar of choc!

    I like using white choc to contrast with the dark choc. Green and Black’s is a good one to use. Their white chocolate is not too sweet and has vanilla seeds in it so a good flavour. But you could use any other flavoured choc. Just cut into shards and sprinkle over before adding the egg mix.

  7. December 13, 2010 at 17:01

    “Great on its own or with more cream if you’re up for it, some more custard or even icecream. “….have pity on your drooling readers Rossa!!! 🙂

    Hope you’ll do some trifle recipes. People in the USA don’t know what trifle is (I think the French and other Europeans are quite mystified too). I miss it!

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