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.
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.
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!