27 September 2023

Bread and Butter Pudding

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By Christine Salins.


Pride and Pudding: The history of British puddings, savoury and sweet, is truly a work of art, which is not surprising given that its author is inspired by the Dutch and Flemish Renaissance paintings she grew up with.

The book is beautifully illustrated, not just with sumptuous photography that look like still-life paintings in a gallery, but also with gorgeous drawings, pen sketches and even an “Ex Libris. This book belongs to…” on the inside cover.

Author Regula Ysewijn took out the Gourmand World Book Award for Culinary Heritage for this part-recipe book, part-culinary history of the British pudding.

Published by Murdoch Books (rrp $55), Pride and Pudding pays homage to the great British pudding in all its guises, with the author delving through historical texts dating back as far as the 14th century, rediscovering long-forgotten flavours and food fashions along the way.

The recipes have been re-created for today’s home cook and feature a delicious collection of sweet and savoury pies, pastries, jellies and ices, flummeries and junkets.

Interestingly, Regula Ysewijn is not British at all, but Belgian. She fell in love with Britain after hearing a nursery rhyme when she was a child, and five years ago began writing about Britain’s culture and food history.

She previously produced the book, Oats in the North, Wheat from the South, featured in this column a little over two years ago, and has also written a book on Belgian Cafe Culture.

The recipe here is one of her favourites to make with leftover buns. You can use hot cross buns, bath buns, Sally Lunns, cinnamon buns, all kinds of buns. If the bun doesn’t contain spices or currants, she recommends you add some to the custard. Currants, dates, raisins and cranberries all work well. You can also go classic and use regular stale bread, or leftover raisin bread, or panettone.

Bread-and-butter pudding

Makes enough for two 20 cm (8 inch) enamel pie dishes, or one large one

butter, for greasing and spreading

2 to 3 stale, but not rock-hard, hot cross buns, or 2 slices of bread cut unto small triangles

25 g (1 oz) currants, soaked in water or rum overnight (optional)

350 ml (12 fl oz) milk

50 ml (1¾ fl oz) thick (double) cream

1 mace blade

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

4 egg yolks or 2 whole eggs

2 teaspoons sugar, to sprinkle

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease the pie dishes generously with butter.

Cut the buns into 1 cm (3/8 inch) thick slices and butter each slice on one side. Or, for a more rustic pud, just halve the buns if they are not that big.

Arrange a layer of bun slices, or bread, buttered side up, in the bottom of the dishes. If using currants, scatter them over the top of the buns.

To make the custard, gently warm the milk, cream, mace and light brown sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk the eggs in a bowl, add a little of the warm milk mixture to the eggs and whisk well, before gradually adding the rest of the milk mixture, whisking constantly.

Pour the custard over the prepared bun or bread layer and sprinkle with the sugar.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes until the custard has set and the tops are nicely golden brown.

Serve with brown bread ice cream or vanilla ice cream, or clotted cream.

Recipe and image from Pride and Pudding by Regula Ysewijn, photography by Regula Ysewijn. Published by Murdoch Books, rrp $55.

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