So then. The English and their puddings. What can I say? When we lived in London I worked for an organisation that had, among many other fantastic things, a cafeteria. A number of my otherwise discerning work mates would get very excited about the array of puddings on offer throughout the week. I can't remember them all, but they were the old-school classics, custardy things, roly polys, sponges, crumbles, spotted dick (I definitely remember that one) and bread and butter puddings. Really nothing could ever convince me to get in to this stuff (though I will eat a good crumble) and I would turn up my Antipodean nose at all of it, in much the same way that the locals know how to turn up their noses at us Antipodeans for all manner of things. But I digress.
I did find a recipe for bread and butter pudding that I tried, perhaps because it was so far from the original concept. Classic b & b pudding is made with slices of buttered white bread baked in a mixture of whisked milk, cream, eggs and sugar, and sprinkled with sultanas. The recipe I came across was made with brioche (sweet and buttery bread), extra egg yolks and loads of chocolate. Really, everything that is bad for you could be found in that one recipe. It tasted very, very good and I have never, ever made it again. It's a once in a decade calorie laden special. And to be honest I think it barely qualifies as real bread and butter pudding.
Towards the end of our time in London we lived with another couple, and Helen and her visiting mother made a bread and butter pudding which they kindly shared with us. They decided to try making it with panetone, a sweet Italian bread made with raisins and citrus flavours. They also added marmalade to the mix and it was *amazing.* From then on I was convinced that bread and butter pudding, with the right ingredients, could be something special.
To add to this list of exciting experiences, when back in Wellington a friend and I went to Flori's for afternoon tea and she chose a muffin sized bread and butter pudding. I snuck a bite, wished I had got it for myself, and haven't stopped thinking about it since. It was flavoured with I can't remember what - perhaps berries?- but there was only one thing at the top of my list when it came to make this pudding myself.
There are only about two foods in this world that my mother won't eat - marmalade and tamarillos - and when she and her sister were given marmalade toast as children by a kindly relative, they threw it out. I think it's going to be hard to convince her, and other marmalade haters, to give this a try. And then there are all the bread and butter pudding sceptics out there. I told a broad minded and widely experimenting baking friend about my awesome b & b pudding discoveries and she struggled to believe me. I am determined to turn her around, but I haven't heard from her after delivering her one of these gems the morning after baking, so I am nervous. And to be honest, I wonder if I have convinced any of you.
To create the puddings below, how could I start anywhere other than with Delia, the Queen of British cooking? I found that she has a recipe for bread and butter puddings that included marmalade, so I just added sultanas to mine, and adjusted the cooking time to make mini puddings in large muffin tins. I am a big cream fan, and for the first and perhaps only time in my life, recommend runny cream rather than whipped. Yoghurt has its place, but I'm afraid I can only recommend cream for this particular recipe...
I made 8 mini puddings. I could have fitted the mixture into 6 tins which would have made for less washing up, but obviously the puddings would have been bigger, and they are pretty filling. You decide. If you only have standard muffin tins you could try making tiny ones; just remember to reduce the cooking time.
Mini Marmalade Bread and Butter Puddings
6 thick slices white bread, with crusts
6 thick slices white bread, with crusts
Butter for spreading
Marmalade for spreading
Handful of sultanas
275 ml full cream milk
60 ml cream
Demerara sugar for sprinkling
Orange zest/candied peel (optional)
Generously butter all 6 slices of bread.
Spread marmalade thickly over 3 slices, then top with the other 3 slices to make marmalade sandwiches.
Spread butter across the top of all 3 sandwiches.
Chop or tear roughly in to pieces, and spread pieces out amongst 6 - 8 large muffin tins, adding sultanas as you go.
Whisk together the milk, cream, eggs and sugar, and pour over the bread.
Sprinkle with demerara sugar and zest and peel if you wish.
Bake at 180 degrees for approx 25 minutes.