Serves 10+ people
When I was thinking about this week’s recipe the weather and resultant panic for food in areas around the UK and Ireland made me think about making something with limited or simple ingredients. What could be better than bread pudding?!
The bread pudding I grew up with was an English version but there are varieties of it throughout the world, all made with slightly different ingredients and served in slightly different ways. The version I know dates back to the 11th century in England and was considered a ‘poor man’s’ dish as it didn’t require large quantities of expensive ingredients. Having fewer foods to-hand and perhaps needing to sustain many people from a very limited larder meant that bread pudding ticked a lot of boxes.
Often the tastiest of dishes we know now are borne out of ‘peasant food’, as it is has been referred to by many cultures. Stews and soups are perfect examples of making something wholesome, fortifying and delicious out of few or cheaper items. So whilst the weather remains chilly why not make some of this? It’s not for the faint hearted nor people who prefer a light, fluffy treat that melts in the mouth. It is rich, fruity and rather heavy but it is lower in sugar and fat than a fruit cake and is wonderful hot or cold.
500g wholemeal bread torn into small pieces
350g dried cranberries
200g other dried fruit of choice e.g. raisins, sultanas, candied peel
1 heaped tbsp mixed spice
1 tsp vanilla extract
Rind of an orange
2 Glenballyeamon free range eggs, beaten
600ml whole milk
120g soft light brown sugar
100g melted butter
Demerara sugar to sprinkle on top
Grease and line a cake tin of choice. I used a round tin that I use for deep cakes such as a Christmas cake. Bread pudding is traditionally cut into squares so a square tin is also good but not necessary.
Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees.
Take all the ingredients in a large bowl except for the melted butter and Demerara sugar and stir them until they form a mash-type consistency.
Leave to sit for 10-15 minutes to allow the bread to soak-up the liquid.
Stir-in the melted butter before turning the mixture into the cake tin and sprinkling generously with the Demerara sugar.
Bake in the oven for 1.5hrs.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from tin.
Bread pudding is delightful warm with or without custard and cream and just as good cold the next day. It keeps very well in an airtight container too.
Cranberry & orange bread pudding.
Moist & fruity.
Orange & cranberry bread pudding.