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Comfort Food #4: Nostalgic Bread Pudding

09 Jun

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Despite being readily available, I had my first piece of bread pudding in a very long time – and thoroughly enjoyed it! It was everything a good old bread pudding should be: fairly light with just the right amount of stodge; sugary; delicately spiced, and crammed full of plump, dried fruit. Delicious!

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I was immediately transported back to when I was seven and tried bread pudding for the first time. My grandfather used to collect my sister and me from school and we would always stop off at the local bakery to buy us some yummy, baked goodies. Most of the time, we would opt for jam doughnuts or honey twists (yum-yums) but one day Granddad encouraged us to try some of the bread pudding. I wasn’t sure: it didn’t look like bread and certainly didn’t resemble a pudding. However, I thought I give the weird, flat, brown thing a go – and realised that Granddad was right – it really was delicious although it was too much for a little girl with a little appetite to finish all at once. I’ve tucked into them over the years every now and again and realised that they have the cornflakes effect: you dismiss them initially but once you start digging in you realise that you had forgotten how delicious they are!

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Not to be confused with the equally delicious and comforting bread and butter pudding, bread pudding is quite easy and inexpensive to make. It’s also a great way to use up stale, leftover bread. Try this delicious recipe for bread pudding:

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Ingredients
500g white or wholemeal bread
500g/1lb 2oz mixed dried fruit
85g mixed peel
1 ½ tbsp mixed spice
600ml milk
2 large eggs , beaten
140g light muscovado sugar
zest 1 lemon (optional)
100g butter , melted
2 tbsp demerara sugar

Cuts into 9 squares

Preparation and cooking times
Preparation time
Prep 10 mins
Cook time
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
plus 15 mins soaking
Freezable

Method
1.Tear the bread into a large mixing bowl and add the fruit, peel and spice. Pour in the milk, then stir or scrunch through your fingers to mix everything well and completely break up the bread. Add eggs, muscovado and lemon zest if using. Stir well, then set aside for 15 mins to soak.
2.Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Butter and line the base of a 20cm non-stick square cake tin (not one with a loose base). Stir the melted butter into the pudding mixture, tip into the tin, then scatter with demerara. Bake for 1½ hrs until firm and golden, covering with foil if it starts to brown too much. Turn out of the tin and strip off the paper. Cut into squares.
3. Can be served warm or cold with tea. Can also be served warm with ice-cream; cream or custard for dessert.

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