“In moments of considerable strain, I tend to take to bread-and-butter pudding. There is something about the blandness of soggy bread, the crispness of the golden outer crust and the unadulterated pleasure of a lightly set custard that makes the world seem a better place to live,” opined Sir Clement Freud, English broadcaster, writer, politician, raconteur, wit, and chef.
50g unsalted butter
12 slices white bread
4 eggs plus 4 egg yolks
175g caster sugar
300ml thin cream
300ml thickened cream
1 vanilla pod, split, seeds scraped
3 tbs thin-cut preferably home-made marmalade
1. Lightly butter a 2-litre baking dish. Butter the bread, remove the crusts, then cut each slice into 2 triangles. Arrange triangles in layers in the dish, then sprinkle the sultanas in between layers. Don’t put any sultanas on the top layer as they will burn and taste like baked rabbit droppings.
2. Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks and caster sugar. Place both creams in a saucepan with the vanilla pod and seeds and bring to scalding point. Pour cream over the egg mixture and whisk lightly to combine. Strain mixture over bread slices, making sure not to dislodge them. Set pudding aside for at least 30 minutes – this ensures that the pudding will be light and not stodgy.
3. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
4. Place the baking dish in a large roasting pan and pour enough boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
5. Cover the dish loosely with foil, place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake the pudding uncovered for a further 15 minutes or until golden.
6. Heat the marmalade in the microwave for about 40 seconds or in a small saucepan over low heat for 1-2 minutes until spreadable. Remove pudding from oven and use a pastry brush to spread marmalade over top. Return to oven for 2-3 minutes, then serve immediately.