Saturday, 11 October 2014

Strawberry Bread and Butter Pudding - Summer falls into Autumn's Arms

Strawberry bread and butter pudding is an experiment and a variation on the theme of the classic, simple country dish, which I loved as a child and which to me will always mean that Autumn is on the way.

Strawberry bread and butter pudding recipe

Many years ago, before people became obsessed with sell-by-dates and were encouraged to throw food away, there existed a plethora of creative recipes invented solely for the use of left-overs and food, no longer fresh. In recent times these have been mostly lost or ignored, by societies which hold their food cheap in all senses of the word. Furthermore,  fuelled by the ubiquitous marketing concept of BOGOF (Buy one get one free), this has led to even more food ending up, at best composted and at worst in landfill. 
 
If, however, you buy organic food then you probably value it and husband it well but on the occasions when it is past its best, then there is recourse to this raft of simple and tasty recipes. In fact a whole substrata of that glorious class of foodstuffs, known as puddings and which Mrs Beeton, refers to as; 'the daily fare of the masses', was created around the use of just one such ingredient; stale bread.


Ingredients for organic strawberry bread and butter pudding

Hard bread isn't something we normally come across in our house-hold, we make our own loaves and on a just-in-time basis. However, in a recent gift to our chickens from a friend, I received four organic white loaves, which I decided to partly use in one of our favourite waste-not-want-not, feel-good sweets - Baked Bread and Butter Pudding. Furthermore as she had also included a punnet of rather squashy looking organic strawberries in the chicken box, I decided to incorporate them as well. As a codicil to this, in one of our Mrs Beeton books, I consulted for a written recipe was the very apt: 'When the weather is dull and dreary, lift the spirits with this comforting old favourite.' We had also that very same damp morning and at the crack of dawn, been to film a centrifugal cream separating machine at our local organic farm, so we came back with a beautiful gift of a jar of raw cream - making for a truly an economical pudding.

A word about stale bread


There was enough in the four loaves to allow me to make breadcrumbs to keep for future recipes and to make two bread and butter puddings and never fear, still to leave enough bread crusts and ends to soak for the Chicks. 

Mottled organic chick eating organic breadThe organic loaves in question are rye sourdough, which gives the bread, to my idea, a rather tricky taste to associate with a sweet pudding. To this end I made my strawberry experimental pudding with the one loaf,  which had more of a brioche taste and texture. The other more tradtional bread and butter pudding, which calls for the use of spices, adequately masked that hint of acidity/bitterness.

Ingredients


Like all of theses old traditional recipes, handed down through families from generation to generation, there really are no fixed ingredients, weights and measures and in particular because it depends on the cooking dish and amount of mouths to feed, as to how much bread you will need. In France all bread is sold by weight, so I can tell you that for each of my puddings I cut out and used the middle, (leaving the hard ends and the crust), of a 1 kilo loaf. However, it would be perhaps more useful to tell you the volume of my dish which was 2 pints or 1 litre. The following is a rough guide from my ancient Mrs Beeton but in general, for the traditional recipe, I put a layer of bread and butter and sprinkled each layer with a teaspoon of rapadura, a pinch of mixed spice* and dessert spoon of dried fruit and I had 5 layers in total. I used more fruit and less sugar than most recipes, thus allowing more sweetness to come from the fruit.

Buttering bread for organic bread and butter pudding recipe

So, as a general rule this is a basic recipe for a 2 pint 1 litre dish, which will provide 4 hefty servings.

8 slices of stale bread - crust cut off,  buttered and cut into small triangles
Extra Butter for greasing the bowl
60g - 2¼oz dried fruit
25g - 1oz raw cane sugar (rapadura)
2 eggs (3 bantam eggs)
400ml - ¾pint of warmed raw milk
Mixed Spice

Mixed spice

* ('mixed spice' is a traditional British pie, pudding, biscuit and cake blend, made from, ground coriander, cassia, ginger, nutmeg, caraway and cloves). So substitute your favourite mixed spices.



Cooking temperatures and times


180ºC or 350ºF for 30 minutes or until the custard has set and the top is well browned.

Method


Organic bread and butter pudding recipe

 
Butter the dish well and arrange the bread slices butter side up at the bottom of dish. Sprinkle each with a dessert spoon of dried fruit, a teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of mixed spice.



Bread and butter pudding - work in progress




Repeat these layers until you have used up all the bread.




Organic eggs for bread and better pudding recipe





Beat the eggs together





Raw milk and egg mixture for bread and butter pudding recipe





Add the warmed milk and beat well.





organic bread and butter pudding recipe - work in progress




Pour evenly over the bread avoiding the very top of the last layer, this allows it to crisp up.



Bread and butter pudding organic recipe - leave to stand



Cover the dish and leave to stand for 15 minutes, I press it down a little with a fork before I do this, to make sure the bread gets well soaked.



Strawberry bread and butter pudding - organic recipe
For the strawberry version I left out the spice and used a lighter raw cane sugar, in which I keep vanilla pods, so it has a delicate hint of vanilla which goes so well with the strawberries.

This pudding is delicious straight from the oven but is equally good if eaten the next day after the flavours have had time to develop. Like many traditional English Puddings this can also be served, when cold as a cake. In fact many Pâtisserie shops, which actually make their own cakes, sell versions of a bread and butter pudding, which is no doubt made of unsold pastries, such as bread, croissants and sponges.

raditional organic bread and butter pudding recipe

There you have it, a comfort food and feel-good pudding, using up quality but non-fresh ingredients, saving you from wasting money and the Planet from succumbing to more waste.

Please feel free to comment, ask questions and share.

Hope to see you here again for another recipe from an old farmhouse in Normandie,

Sue

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© 2014 Sue Cross 

2 comments:

  1. Nice! I haven't made a bread and butter pudding since the kids were wee but our family's version is to spread the buttered bread with marmalade before assembling as normal. It's sublime!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Wendy, Thanks for your comment, much appreciated! That sounds like a winning combination, which we must try. I can't remember the name of it but there is an old Victorian pudding that has breadcrumbs and marmalade with butter all in a custard sauce. I remember that being delicious too. I just wish I hadn't found your comment as I was going out to put the hens away - now I'm really hungry! All the very best from Normandie, Sue

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