I’ve always had the biggest crush on custard.
As a toddler I loved the stuff so much that my mum used to buy litre cartons of it and I’d eat cups of it. Fresh custard tarts puffy from the local bakery, lightly dusted with spicy nutmeg, perfectly flaky and buttery egg custard tarts at yum cha, the smooth, cool consistency of a sensuous creme caramel, flecked with vanilla and oozing molten sugar caramel.
I’ve previously made a decadent Caramel Croissant Pudding courtesy of a Nigella Lawson Youtube video, and as deliciously rich as it was, I wanted to give it another try with simpler ingredients. Bread and butter pudding originated as a way of using up leftover stale bread; pouring over a basic custard of milk, eggs and sugar to create something homely, warm and comfortingly scrumptious. I found a basic recipe from Sally Wise’s Family Favourites; an easy-to-follow book full of family-friendly essentials – from beef bourguignon to apple crumble. With me being me though, I wanted to put my own spin on it, so decided to make a Hazelnut-Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding with a dash of maple-infused bourbon.
I used the most basic, supermarket-brand 85 cent loaf of white bread. I was originally looking for a small batard or mini-baguette, but considering that I don’t tend to eat white bread I couldn’t justify spending more than $2 on a loaf. After making this though, I was very pleased with my choice of cheap bread, as it seemed to absorb the custard better and was better without the yeasty flavour I love from proper bakery bread.
Sometimes it’s the easiest recipes that turn out sensational. Nutty and earthy cocoa flavours with subtle hints of caramel and warm maple from the shot of bourbon pour-over, and the softest, lightest pudding you can imagine with the basic white bread having soaked up the boozy egg custard. I made this in a small loaf tin, approximately 20cmx1cm, and it will comfortably serve three to four people.
You will need:
- 3 slices of white bread;
- 3 teaspoons butter, softened;
- 1 tablespoon hazelnut-chocolate spread;
- 2 eggs;
- 1+ 1/2 cups milk;
- 1/4 cup caster sugar;
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste;
- 1 shot maple-infused bourbon, optional;
- Vanilla ice cream, to serve.
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celcius. Grease a small loaf tin and have ready a deep-sided baking/casserole dish into which the loaf tin will fit.
Cut the bread into triangle quarters and spread each piece evenly with the butter and the hazelnut spread.
Line them evenly into the loaf tin, crust-side down.
Make the custard by whisking the eggs with the milk, sugar and vanilla until well-combined Pour over the bread, pushing down on the row of sliced bread to soak properly into the custard. Pour over the shot of bourbon and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.
Place the loaf tin in the baking dish and pour water around it until it comes halfway up the baking dish. Gently place it into the oven and bake until set, for about an hour.
Serve the wonderfully sweet, spongy pudding with vanilla ice cream if desired, or it’s also stunningly easy to eat on its own.