Warm and cosy desserts are the flavour of this season. And if you have an incurable sweet tooth like me and think dessert even before main course then you could eat any dessert any time of the year.
That said, there is something truly comforting about bread and butter pudding. Maybe the fact that it has bread, one of the most loved foods across the world, and that it has butter to add to its richness. And of course, custard! I'm yet to come across someone who doesn't care for the comfort a bowl of custard provides.
Simple bread and butter in itself can be so fulfilling and comforting. Enrobed in creamy custard and baked, this is an irresistible pudding. As a matter of fact, so wonderful that I could skip a meal or eat it sparsely to make room for this pudding.
And it only helps that this is a really flexible recipe. You could use any bread, store bought or home made. I used whole wheat bread to utilize the excessive bread in my pantry. But I prefer the taste of white bread in this pudding. You can increase or decrease the bread to custard ratio depending on how liquid you want your pudding to be. I like to keep varying this, at times lightly coating the bread cubes with the custard and at other times submerging the bread in a pool of custard. And you could use any berries instead of strawberries or other nuts like almonds or pecans instead of walnuts. Or skip the fruits and nut and enjoy the regalness of plain bread and butter pudding.
The best part of my cooking these days is that Harivansh gets to taste most of it. He is still cultivating his taste buds and exploring different foods but his clarity and specific tastes or for that matter his dislike towards certain foods continues to stun and surprise me. To add to the comfort of this pudding was the fact that both my men relished it. I hope you will forgive me for using the term "comfort" time and again in this post but trust me that's how comforting it is! However you decide to make this, I hope you find the same comfort that I do when I dig into a bowl of this pudding.
Bread & Butter Pudding with Strawberries & Walnuts Recipe
The strawberries can be replaced with other berries like raspberries, blackberries or blueberries and the walnuts with almonds or pecans. The cubed bread can be toasted in an oven for ten minutes and then baked as given below. This recipe will coat the bread lightly with the custard. If you want more of the custard, then use only 3 cups of bread. All the other ingredients can remain the same.
1 tsp butter for the pan
2 tbsp demerara sugar or brown sugar
500 ml (2 cups) milk
30 gm (4 tbsp) custard powder or (cornflour + 1/2 tsp vanilla)
110 gm (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
8 slices bread, cut into 1 1/2 cubes (4 cups)
2 tbsp butter
225 gm (1 1/2 cups) strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters or halves depending on their size
60 gm (1/2 cup) walnuts
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 190C/350 F. Brush an 8" round oven proof pan with the butter and sprinkle with 1 tbsp demerara sugar all over it.
In a small bowl, put in the custard powder and mix with a little milk (1/4 cup) to form a smooth paste. Heat the remaining milk with the sugar on a medium flame until the sugar melts. Lower the flame and slowly mix in the prepared custard paste and cook until thick and smooth and the liquid coats the back of a spoon, about 2 to 3 minutes. Keep aside.
Butter the bread on both sides and cut into 1" cubes. You could lightly toast these in the oven or use them as it is. Place these bread cubes in a large bowl and mix in the strawberries and walnuts. Pour in the prepared custard and toss to coat.
Pour the bread, berries and custard mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining demerara sugar and cover the dish with aluminium foil. After about 20 minutes, rotate the dish and remove the foil. Bake until the top is crisp and toasted, about 20 minutes or more.
Allow the pudding to rest, for about 15 minutes and serve warm. If cool, reheat for about 10 minutes at 325F/160C before serving.
Makes one 8" round pudding, which would make 4 to 6 servings.
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