Monday, June 9, 2008
Comfort food for the winter chill
I seem to have an inclination towards rustic, simple desserts of late. It must be the uncharacteristically wet weather we are having--I've never experienced such a wet winter in the past 5 years that I've been in Melbourne.
But I digress. The bread and butter pudding, a traditional English fare, is perfect for a chilly winter's night. This treat emanates the most heavenly smell from the oven, which makes waiting for it to set to the perfect wobbly texture an excruciating experience. Fresh out of the oven, with a sprinkling of icing sugar, bread and butter pudding is the perfect comfort food. You don't have to get dressed up or dolled up to enjoy this dessert; it is unpretentious, and no, it will not judge you on the way you look in your pajamas and spectacles, nor will it ostracize you for the shockingly unrefined way in which you are eating it.
This is a dessert you would eat unabashedly with a big spoon straight from the bowl.
Bread and Butter Pudding
(adapted from The Gourmet Traveller)
serves 6, or 4 very hungry adults
85 g sultanas
2 Tbsp brandy
300ml pouring cream
55g caster sugar
Finely grated rind of an orange
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
8 slices day-old white bread (or any of your choice; i used raisin toast)
60g soft butter, plus extra for greasing
1 Tbsp demerara sugar
Icing sugar, to serve
Combine sultanas and brandy in a small bowl and set aside.Combine eggs, cream, milk, caster sugar, orange rind, vanilla seeds and cinnamon in a bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside. Spread both sides of the bread with butter and halve lengthways. Scatter 1/3 of the brandied sultanas into a lightly greased 1 litre capacity oven-proof dish (i used 4 x 250 ml ramekins). Trim bread slices to fit dish and layer, scattering remaining sultanas between each layer. Pour cream mixture evenly over bread slices and stand for about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 180C, and bake until golden and custard is firm (30 min for ramekins, 50 min for large dish). Serve immediately, with a dusting of icing sugar if desired.