Bread and Butter Pudding

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When we were in Ireland last May, specifically in Dingle on the west coast, we were fortunate to stay at a lovely bed and breakfast right on the water called the Castlewood House.
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The multi-award winning B & B is run by Brian Heaton and Helen Woods Heaton, who opened Castlewood House in 2005. Helen runs the front of the house, and Brian, among his other duties, cooks breakfast at Castlewood. And, an outstanding job he does.

In all of my visits to the UK, I’ve somehow missed the experience of bread and butter pudding, which is typically served as a dessert. If you are not aware, all desserts in the UK are called puddings. Don’t ask me why…

But anyway, at this B & B, there it was, amongst many other elaborate breakfast offerings every morning. I could smell the wafting cinnamon smell all the way up to our room in the wee hours.

I was a bit hesitant to try it at first, being that I didn’t need a sugar buzz so early in the day. But fortunately, I did. And I fell in love with it. Helen told me that the recipe for this bread and butter pudding, as well as some others, are posted on their website here.

This is a recipe I can definitely see making during the winter months, because it is sweet and hearty, but I just couldn’t wait. And as it turns out, it would be good any time of the year, especially for a brunch.

So here it is for you. It’s Brian’s recipe!

I adapted the recipe just slightly, but you can get the original one by using the link.

Bread and Butter Pudding

12 slices sandwich bread, crusts removed, I used potato bread
About 1 stick, 4 ounces soft unsalted butter
6 ounces golden raisins
Nutmeg, about 1 teaspoon
4 Large Eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces heavy cream
12 ounces evaporated milk
Ground cinnamon

Have an 8″ square baking dish handy.

Generously butter four slices of bread and place them butter-side down inside the baking dish.
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Sprinkle with some nutmeg and add half of the raisins.
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Arrange another layer of buttered bread, buttered side down and sprinkle on the remaining raisins and more nutmeg.
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Cover with the remaining bread buttered side down.
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In a separate bowl whisk the eggs then add the sugar and whisk until smooth. Add the vanilla, cream and evaporated milk, and whisk until fully incorporated. Carefully pour the mixture over the bread and leave to stand for one hour or ideally overnight.
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Right before baking, sprinkle the top of the bread and butter pudding with nutmeg and cinnamon. (Brian’s recipe doesn’t use cinnamon, but I would have sworn that I smelled cinnamon every morning!)
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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place the dish in a larger pan. Fill the larger pan with hot water until the water reaches halfway up the baking dish.

Bake in the middle of the oven for one hour, removing the aluminum foil 10 minutes from the end ensuring the top gets crisp and golden. This photo shows what the pudding looks like after the foil is removed.
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This is the photo of the pudding after the final 10 minutes in the oven. It’s a little more golden brown and puffy.
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I served the bread pudding with crème fraiche. Sweetened whipped cream would also be delicious. I also tried it with some fresh blueberries.
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It was definitely good with the blueberries, but it is absolutely perfect without as well. See what you think!
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I hope if you ever go to Dingle, Ireland, in County Kerry, that you stop by and at least say hi to Brian and Helen, if you don’t have the time to spend a few days. They are kind and generous people who are proud of their B & B as well as their corner of Ireland. Fortunately, Helen was also the one who guided us to have dinner at the Global Village in Dingle, which turned out to be such a wonderful experience. They can be tour guides for you, as well.

47 thoughts on “Bread and Butter Pudding

  1. I can’t believe the coincidence … just a few hours ago my daughter complained that I had promised to make her a bread and butter pudding some time! Yours (Brian’s) looks delicious … I make mine with jam. And yes, English English as opposed to American English calls the sweet ending to a meal (but before the cheese platter is served and not the other way round) a ‘pudding’. Because, I suppose most sweet endings to a meal used be made as puddings in the past. Dessert is a French word anyway.

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  2. My mother used to make bread pudding with variations (my favorite was with chocolate chips, and I liked it with chunks of apple too), but not the bread-and-butter type. Mmm, will have to try this!

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      • I’m having a cup of tea and found this – hope it answers your question!

        According to the OED, the term “pudding” originally referred to the stuffing of entrails with a mixture that included flour. Then, it would be boiled or steamed with water or beer to be cooked. The entrails/intestine skin would act like a protective coating for what was stuffed inside. Effectively, what you would get, was a breadlike substance that could be sliced after the skin was removed (or not).

        Over time, the term “pudding” referred to any steamed or boiled item that contained flour. The English don’t actually call all desserts puddings, though they sometimes put “puddings” on the menu. So, for instance, a Trifle is not a pudding; neither is a custard, but most “cakes” (except for biscuits) are called puddings because of the preparation method.

        All actual English puddings turn out to be steamed bready things, cakes boiled in plastic bags (they no longer use entrails), or flour-made products baked in a bain marie (water bath) in the oven.

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      • Okay. Now I’m thoroughly confused!!! That definitely explains blood pudding! No, I definitely get it – I really appreciate your finding this for me!! And, it makes sense.

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  3. My English Grandma made bread and butter pudding with just one layer of bread which formed a crunchy crust on top of the baked custard. I loved it when I was a kid, but now I prefer a more sophisticated version, with croissants and dried apricots. I think the use of the words pudding and dessert another example of the digression of word usage in different cultures. We tend to follow the English in Australia, though dessert is the all encompassing term for the sweet course at the end if the meal, and puddings are the hot steamed or baked desserts.

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  4. I love bread and butter pudding! There is even a similar Italian version of it I used to make all the time. The word pudding, by the way, comes from the French boudin that used to indicate all those dishes made with a bunch of meat and suet and steamed together. Pudding used to be mainly savoury, until sweet versions were made along the same lines and the word “pudding” stuck. Interesting to know that, in class obsessed Britain, pudding was used by the lower classes to indicate a sweet ending to a meal, while the upper classes preferred the French “dessert”.

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  5. Have to put in my penn’orth. Don’t know about the rest of the UK but in Yorkshire ‘pudding’ is simply the word for what you are calling ‘dessert’, which as one of your commentators pointed out is French. It doesn’t have to be bread-like or cooked in a bag, though that may have been the original meaning – eg, rice pudding is simply rice, milk, sugar and, usually, nutmeg, cooked in a pan or, better, in the oven. Then, of course, there’s Yorkshire pudding; usually eaten now with a ‘roast dinner’, more traditionally eaten before the main course (eg in place of soup) with gravy, but it can also be a ‘dessert’ – my grandmother often served it with ‘golden syrup’ as pudding, ie after the main course. As for bread and butter pudding, it’s a wonderful concoction when made well, ie with ‘proper’ bread, not that chewy abomination sold sliced in the supermarkets. Traditionally it was made to use up buttered bread left from an earlier meal (usually ‘tea’).

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