English recipes for bread and butter pudding first appeared in in the 1720s, when it was made with fresh buttered bread, sprinkled with currants and baked with a nutmeg-flavoured custard. Since then, there have been countless variations. For example, the bread can be replaced by brioche, and custard can be infused with different ingredients such as chocolate or saffron. This recipe comes from my book National Trust Simply Baking (see Books page).
425ml/¾ pint milk
medium ground coffee beans
granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
softened, plus extra for greasing
9 thick slices
good-quality, white bread
2 medium eggs
3 medium egg
Put the milk, cream, coffee and 115/4oz granulated sugar in a
saucepan. Set over a medium heat and
bring to the boil, then remove from the heat, stir once and leave to infuse for
Meanwhile, liberally butter a 20 x30cm/8 x 12in oval shallow ovenproof
dish, or a rectangular dish of a similar size.
Liberally butter the sliced bread, cut off the crusts and cut into
halves or quarters. Arrange half of the
bread in the buttered dish, buttered side up, and sprinkle with the
raisins. Cover with the remaining bread,
buttered side up.
3 Lightly beat the whole eggs and yolks
together, then strain through a sieve into a large jug. Strain the coffee cream through a fine sieve
into the eggs. Mix thoroughly and pour
over the buttered bread. Cover and chill
for 30 minutes, so that the custard has time to soak into the bread.
Preheat the oven
to fan 170°C/gas 4. Sprinkle the top of
the bread with the tablespoon of sugar, place in a roasting pan and add enough
just-boiled water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish. Bake for 45 minutes or until the custard is
set and the top is flecked golden. Serve
hot, warm or at room temperature.