Having spent 7 years at a very traditional British school (you know, the kind with real on-site kitchens, pig bins and a passionate obsession with frugality) this tasty, low cost pudding was a regular staple in my diet. With or without custard a steaming slice of bread pudding was the perfect thing to set you up for a frosty compulsory tramp around the school cross-country course.
These days I appreciate bread pudding for slightly different reasons: not only is it a perfect way to use up stale bread that would otherwise be destined for the bin and a great way to get some (dried) fruit into the kids, it also provides the perfect low-fat compliment to a Sunday roast.
This recipe is my own twist on the old favourite and I always bake it in a slightly deeper dish (say 4″) than I remember to encourage it to rise as much as possible.
- Enough slices of white bread to cover the base of your dish twice (mine needs 3-4 slices depending on the loaf), crusts removed
- 2 eggs
- 200mls semi skimmed milk
- 3 tbsp sugar
- a couple of handfuls of dried fruit – this could be sultanas, raisins, chopped apricots or prunes. Tonight’s offering happens to contain chopped dates and dried cranberries as they were the fist thing to fall out of the cupboard but I have been known to use up dried mixed peel after Christmas in the past!
- Half a handful of sliced almonds
- Grated Nutmeg
- Cover the base of the dish with one layer of sliced bread.
- Scatter your dried fruit over the base layer and top with a second layer of bread.
- Break your eggs into a jug and whisk in the milk and sugar.
- Pour the egg and milk mixture over the top layer of bread, ensuring all of the surface is covered. This is especially important as the top of the bread becomes sealed by the egg mixture when it hits the heat of the oven. This traps any bubbles of air remaining in the bread and mixture under the surface and encourages the pudding to rise.
- Cover with foil and leave to soak for 10 minutes.
- Press down gently with a fork to ensure all of the bread is covered with the egg and milk mixture.
- Recover and leave to soak for a further 5 minutes
- Grate a little nutmeg and scatter the sliced almonds over the top, recover with the foil and bake in a preheated oven at 160 degrees for 25 minutes
- After 25 minutes remove the foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes to crisp the top.
- Serve, with or without custard depending on your taste!