Bread and Butter Pudding Recipe

In a recent post My ‘One Lovely Blog’ Award, I confessed that one of the fascinating facts about me is that I can make a meal out of nothing. Well, almost nothing.

That talent came in handy last night when friends dropped by unexpectedly, at dinner time. Of course I invited them to stay. It’s never much trouble to extend a meal, and I managed to make our curry go a bit further by adding in some extra vegetables (sorry, we ate it all before I thought about taking photos!), but I was initially a little stumped about what to serve up for dessert.

There’s not much in the cupboard. Ice-cream on its own seemed a bit ‘pov’, but luckily I had some delicious sourdough fruit bread, eggs and milk.  Solution? Bread and butter pudding!

This pudding is one of the first desserts I mastered on my own, ably taught by my Nana when I was a small girl.  It’s a very child-friendly dish for little hands eager to help out with dinner. This is easy and fast to make, and you can use whatever ingredients you have in the pantry. The lemon zest in this recipe gives the pudding a lovely citrus-y tang.

Meyer Lemons from the tree in our backyard

Yummy bread from the local farmers markets

Ingredients:

4 eggs, 2 and 1/2 cups milk, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla (Sound familiar? Yes, it’s the basis to my Easy Baked Custard Recipe!) zest of one lemon, 6 to 8 slices of fruit bread (you might need more if it’s a small loaf or if you have a big baking dish and a crowd to feed) or use plain bread and a handful of sultanas, dried apricots or mixed dried fruit (Did I mention to use whatever bread or fruit you have in the cupboard?), butter, jam or marmalade of your choice.  I had Apricot Jam in the pantry, so that’s what I used.

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180C (moderate or 355F) or slightly less if it is fan forced.

Grease a baking dish large enough to hold your bread slices and the custard mixture (a six to eight cup capacity should do it).  Butter the bread slices, add a thin layer of jam and cut into halves or thirds. Place into bowl so that the slices overlap. If you are using a plain bread, sprinkle some of the the fruit between the layers of bread but don’t put any on the top of the pudding as it will burn.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla, ensuring that sugar has dissolved.  Pour gently over bread.  Wiggle the slices a little to ensure that the egg mixture has gone right to the bottom of the dish.  Then let it stand for 30 minutes so that the bread absorbs the liquid.  This will give your pudding a nice lift.

Bake for thirty minutes or until the top has risen and is golden and nicely firm. (If it feels really wobbly in the centre give it another five to ten minutes.) Don’t panic if it sinks again after it’s been out of the oven for a bit – it shall still taste delicious.  Serve with ice-cream, custard or cream.  Heavenly.  It’s also yummy cold if you manage to salvage any as left-overs. (We didn’t…) Enjoy!

Easy Baked Custard Recipe AND a Free Kitten!

Today an old family recipe worth cherishing, and the latest instalment on life at my farm.

This baked custard recipe was my grandmother’s, although my grandfather liked to boast that he perfected it! It always reminds me of the love and care he had for my grandmother – he was never a man to be in the kitchen but as my grandmother’s eyesight failed and her health deteriorated he would cook this custard for her every week. And I have to admit he did a fine job of it too.

So what’s with the free kitten? I have some in my possession. I’ve been nursing them since yesterday when my husband found them, abandoned by their young feral mother in an overturned cattle trough down by the shed.

So on this frosty farm morning I find myself nursing four tiny feral, hissy-spittie kitties.

Later today I will take them to a cat shelter, not far from here, and kind foster mothers will nurse the kittens until they are old enough to live in the shelter, and be adopted out as rescue pets.

We have a box in the shed with emergency mothering supplies.  There is calf formula for baby cows (works on puppies and kittens in a pinch too if watered down), bird mix for baby birds, bird mix for injured adult birds, a mix for wallabies and kangaroos, wombat mix (only ever used that once but the tin is good for two more years!) and an assortment of bottles, droppers, gloves and sacks (for wrapping babies in). Who said I am no soft touch?

This baked custard is equally good for mothering – other people or yourself.  It is warm, rich in protein, and easy to eat and digest.  True comfort food with its silky texture and gentle flavours. I would have eaten some for breakfast, but somehow in the middle of the night the remainder has disappeared.  Those kittens must be able to raid the fridge!

Easy Baked Custard Recipe

Ingredients: 4 eggs, 2 and 1/2 cups milk, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, butter for greasing dish, nutmeg.  (If you need this recipe to be sugar free it works just fine with an equivalent amount of natural sugar substitute – I use Natvia and it tastes brilliant!)

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 130c (250f or slow oven)  if fanforced or 150c (300f – and still slowish oven)  if not.
  2. Grease a four cup capacity dish, and find a baking tray large enough for it to sit within.
  3. Beat eggs and sugar together with a whisk or fork until sugar is dissolved.  Add milk and vanilla and mix through.
  4. Pour mixture into the greased dish.
  5. Grate or sprinkle nutmeg over the top of the custard. (I am a firm lover of fresh nutmeg – once you’ve tried it you’ll never go back to the packaged stuff!)
  6. Fill baking tray with cold water so that it comes halfway up the side of the custard dish.
  7. Place carefully into oven and bake for 40 to 60 minutes or until set.  Custard will be firm under your touch, although it may still be a bit wobbly in the middle.  It will firm more as it cools.

Note: Oven temperatures vary widely. You need to cook this slowly to be rewarded with a thick, well set dish. If it is cooked at too high a temperature you will have lots of bubbles in your custard and a lot of whey (clearish looking fluid). Unless you have used low temperatures in your oven before, you need to check your custard after thirty minutes. After thirty minutes, if the custard has not picked up some colour and begun to set, your oven is too slow and you will need to adjust the temperature up a little. When I cook this at my farm in my Falcon Oven which is fan-forced electric, it takes 40 minutes to bake my custard. When I cook this dish in the city, my old gas oven takes 60 minutes.

Serve warm or cold.  Goes very well with stewed fruits, baked apples and pastries. I am reliably informed that it is also tasty with jelly. Warning – may be stolen by kittens!

Custard going into the oven in its water bath

Bert – totally perplexed by the hissing box just out of his reach (for his safety – not the kittens!)

Charlie took advantage of the early morning kitten action by putting himself back to bed – in my bed!