I noticed last week that my front page is getting really, er, brown. A lot of the foods I’ve been enjoying are shades of beige and brown – largely because carbs are brown and carbs are brilliant. This spiked twist on bread and butter pudding is no different.
I’ve said before how much I love hot cross buns – there’s nothing quite like the sweet, spicy smell of cinnamon and sugar and fruit wafting from the kitchen. As much as I’d be happy to eat them simply toasted and smothered in butter, dressing them up with a little egg and dried fruit spruces them up just enough that maybe you’d be judged less for consuming it all. Maybe.
Bread and butter pudding is a dish that’s always about homeliness and ease, a matter of using up some left overs. So when it came to looking for a recipe, I was surprised to see that a lot of them called for vanilla pods, double cream, and breads you’re not likely to have left over from that week’s packed lunches, like panettone. I’m sure if you’re a famous chef, you’re quite likely to have some cream laying about, and you’ve probably got a stash of Fairtrade vanilla pods that you’re happy to simmer in milk for 3 minutes then discard. But the average person doesn’t have these items, surely? In short, although I love food magazines and cooking programmes, sometimes they just seem a little too far removed from reality.
All you need for this pudding is a few eggs, some (normal!) milk, a little rum and some hot cross buns, which are on offer pretty much everywhere at the moment. The hardest part is not eating them all as soon as you buy them.
Spiked Hot Cross Bread & Butter Pudding
5tbsp dark or spiced rum
8 hot cross buns
2tbsp sugar, plus some to sprinkle
1) The night before making the pudding, place the raisins and rum in a small bowl or Tupperware box and cover. Allow to soak overnight.
2) On the day, heat the oven to about 75C and slice your hot cross buns in half. Place the halves straight onto the wire racks (hope your oven’s clean!) and heat for about 30 minutes, or until crispy. If you’ve somehow resisted the hot cross buns long enough to let them stale slightly naturally, skip this step.
3) When crisp, remove from oven and butter on one side. Arrange in your baking dish, butter side up. Remove the raisins from the rum, reserving the left over rum for later use, and sprinkle on the bun halves. Change the oven temperature to 160C.
4) In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until pale, using a balloon whisk. Set aside.
5) In a medium pan, heat the milk and vanilla extract until hot but not boiling. Remove from the heat, and add to the egg mixture along with the leftover rum, stirring as you pour, to make your custard. Mix thoroughly.
6) Pour the mixture over the hot cross buns and allow to soak for 30 minutes, spooning the custard over any dry areas.
7) Sprinkle sugar, cinnamon, and grated nutmeg over the pudding to your taste. Bake for around 30 minutes, until the custard is set. Serve warm with cream or vanilla ice cream.