This brioche bread pudding was everything I hoped it would be, with a perfect combination of a crusty top and a tender buttery brioche cakey layer sitting atop a silky and lightly spiced custard.
On a visit to my neighbourhood supermarket I passed brioche loaves that seemed to be calling out ‘buy me’. I had no idea what I would do with it and passed on that occasion.
My mother used to laugh when I told her that I bought something because it was smiling at me or had my name on it. I assure you I don’t hear voices or speak to imaginary friends or inanimate objects; but I do base many of my purchases on whether I feel like an item is meant for me, and that is my way of expressing it.
A few days later I saw a recipe on a facebook page for bread and butter pudding and wondered how it would taste with the brioche I had seen a few days before. My cousin encouraged me to carry the brioche all the way to Cape Town to make this pudding, even telling me which bag to carry it in.
I had never made a bread and butter pudding until the week after I arrived in Cape Town for my recent visit. My memories of bread puddings included watery versions, stodgy and tasteless versions, undercooked or overcooked versions as well as ones with too much starch added. I vaguely remembered my mother making it, although she became quite proficient only after I moved to Dubai :(.
I threw together my own recipe hoping that the end product would evoke the same comforting memories as my favored Cape Malay Potato puddings had in the past. I discovered that it is possibly one of the simplest recipes to make using kitchen staples and a few days old bread. If you are unable to find brioche bread at your bakery or supermarket, try challah or egg loaf as it has a similar texture and rich flavor.
PS: Many bread and butter puddings require custard on the side because they are a bit lacking in moisture, but this one does not.
Brioche bread pudding
- 25 grams soft butter to grease the baking dish
- 14 slices brioche lower crust removed
- 60 grams soft butter
- 125 ml sultanas
- 12 extra large eggs
- 385 grams condensed milk approximately 1 can
- 187 ml fine granulated sugar approximately ¾ cup
- 1 litre milk divided
- 20 grams custard powder approximately 30 ml or 2 tablespoons mixed in 125ml of the milk
- 500 ml fresh cream
- 4 small pieces stick cinnamon
- 1.25 ml fine cardamom approximately ¼ teaspoon
- 5 ml vanilla extract approximately 1 teaspoon
- 1.25 ml vanilla seeds or paste approximately ¼ teaspoon
Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius or 160 fan / 350 F / Gas mark 4.
Grease an ovenproof glass baking dish of 2 litre capacity with 25 grams butter. I used an oblong dish for the large one and a ramekin to make a smaller individual one.
The brioche will have a soft top crust so only remove the harder bottom crust from all the slices and cut each one in half diagonally to make triangles.
Spread each slice on one side only with a slick of the soft butter and arrange in the dish cut side up.
Sprinkle the sultanas between the layers.
In a large bowl add the eggs, condensed milk and sugar and beat for 5 minutes with a whisk until pale and creamy.
Reserve 1/2 cup of milk and mix with the custard powder until smooth and free of lumps.
Add the rest of the milk, the cream and the custard mixture to the egg mixture and whisk thoroughly for 2 minutes.
Add the vanilla extract, vanilla seeds and cardamom and whisk lightly to combine.
Scatter the stick cinnamon pieces evenly over the bread layers then ladle the egg mixture on carefully.
Leave the bread pudding to site for at least 45 minutes, and occasionally press down lightly.
Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the bread is golden and the custard is set.
You may halve the recipe for a smaller pudding.
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