Sunday, 19 December 2010

In case of emergency: Bread and Butter Pudding

I am snowed in. There is three feet of snow outside. The roads were only cleared this afternoon. I spent the morning digging out cars with the neighbours. It was very convivial actually - I learnt more about the people I live next door to than  I have in a long while: shoveling snow they shared their past, things we had in common and their worries. I walked to the shop later, all the way to the 'big' local shop in Milton Under Wychwood, about a mile down the road. They had no milk, bread or newspapers indicating no deliveries had made it through. In our house supplies are running low. We haven't done the Christmas shop yet, and were running things down to make way for the Feast. There is more than one way to clear a path :)

Anyhow, to cut a long story short, the calorie intake at the household was going to be penitentially low unless emergency action was taken. There was only one thing to be done. I am the child of a mother born in London during the Second World War and a father who 'lived through the Emergency' (WW II) in Dublin. Thus, there is no such thing as 'nothing in the cupboard'. The mantra of 'make do and mend' is sacred in this house. This recipe is a speciality of my Da's.

Bread and Butter Pudding

You need:

3 or 4 large eggs (when I have to post instructions on how to do this with powdered milk and eggs I'll know things have got seriously serious).
50g caster sugar
50 - 75g sultanas
About a pint of milk
Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Mixed Spice to taste (go for it)
4 - 6 slices of thinly sliced bread

So, you butter the dish and preheat the oven at 180C. Cut the crusts off the bread and butter it. Then cut it into quarters. Layer the bread and butter into the dish and sprinkle each layer with the sultanas and some of the spices. Beat together the eggs, caster sugar and about 3 tablespoons of the milk. Heat the rest of the milk in a saucepan, but do not bring it to the boil. Pour it over the egg mixture and whisk it well together - I use an electric whisk. Pour the milk over the bread and butter, ensuring it is well covered. Leave the dish to stand for 30 minutes. Sprinkle some more sugar and spice over the top of the pudding. Bake the pudding for about 45 minutes, or until it has risen well and is golden brown on top.

As a child I used to eat this with whole milk poured over the top. I got the 'top of the milk' if I was lucky, and it was all creamy. When I came to the UK I was teased about this. Apparently it is more usual to eat Bread and Butter pudding with custard. I have never liked that, I find it too sweet. Today my folks had ice cream with it. I stuck with my milk tradition, even though there is no such thing as 'top of the milk' anymore - boo hoo! They complained the ice cream did not go, it was too cold and too sweet. Afterwards they both had seconds with milk. I guess you guys will have to find your own way on this one.

By the way, if you are not cooking this because you are snowed in, but because you just want a taste of home, fair enough. If you get to the supermarket might I suggest cream? If you are going all out - Bailey's in the milk mixture?  Or Brandy? That will sort you out.

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