The recipe came in a little pamphlet I was given about slow cookers. I've never really been interested in doing puddings and soups and all those different things in my slow cooker, I've only ever wanted to use it for casseroles and meaty dinners. But this time the idea appealed, and the flavours of the recipe were very tempting.
And the thing I have learnt about cooking a pudding in a slow cooker, is that you make it at 2pm instead of 5pm. And that's about it. The results were very good, just as they are when you bake a pudding in the oven. Cooking meat in a slow cooker results in lovely, tender meat that falls beautifully off the bone, in a way that you just can't replicate in a hot and hurried oven. A similar comparison can not be made with an oven vs slow cooker pudding (I state, after one experiment) but I have no problem with this. Certainly if pudding is a top priority for your day, getting it all done and out of the way by mid afternoon is pretty useful.
I made a slightly smaller amount of pudding than the recipe suggested and had to fiddle with the ingredients a little bit - I think the problem was we had such a beautiful loaf of soft white fresh bread that we kept eating it until we nearly didn't have enough for the pudding. Someone needs to learn some self-control around here. The recipe gives amounts in grams for the butter and jam, which there is no way I was going to weigh out, and I'm going to make you take the same casual approach - I hope you can handle it.
I also found it a little hilarious and just plain wrong that there were all kinds of attempts to make this a healthy pudding. The recipe suggests wholegrain or multigrain bread, reduced fat spread and trim milk. Are you kidding me?! You know I am interested in health, both mine and yours, but "multigrain and reduced fat spread pudding" just ain't the same thing as a bread and butter pudding. Ugh. There are plenty of spreads out there that I wouldn't let past my doorstep (for health reasons as well as flavour), and using trim milk in a pudding full of sugar is not going to make a big difference. So call in the glucose, keep off the fructose for the rest of the day (you can't avoid it completely here), and go easy on the portion size (a lesson I failed to remember each time I dug in to the fridge for another round of leftovers).
Have you ever done a pudding in a slow cooker? What's the advantage for you? Do you think they do a better job?
Thanks to the Healthy Food Guide for their inspiration for the recipe below (and their desire to keep us healthy, despite my complaints).
nb. 1 - 2 day old bread is fine, and you may choose to add chopped dried apricots if that appeals.
Apricot and Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding
5 large fat slices white bread (approx 300g)
Butter for spreading
Apricot jam for spreading
1/3 cup chopped chocolate
2 3/4 cups milk
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
scant 1/3 cup glucose (or sugar)
Preheat cooker to low.
Cut the bread slices in half and spread really generously with butter and jam.
Beat together the milk, eggs, vanilla and glucose/sugar. Make sure the eggs are beaten really well in to the milk.
Lay half the bread slices in the cooker and scatter with half the chocolate.
Add the remaining bread and the rest of the chocolate.
Pour the milk mixture over the bread.
Bake for 4 1/2 - to 5 hours.
Don't leave pudding in the cooker for more than 5 hours, and serve straight away.