Sunday, 3 October 2010

Baking Sunday: Pear & Chocolate Bread & Butter Pudding

Bread and butter pudding is one of the first things I learnt to cook and it is incredibly easy to make. There are plenty of variations to the basic bread & butter baked in custard version - spread with marmalade with citrus peel and orange liquour, fancy versions involving brioche and croissaints, super rich raspberry and white chocolate numbers and pretty much anything else you like on toast or in puddings. We had a bit of leftover bread and some eggs so thought it would be the perfect thing to make for the weekend. I wanted to make it with some kind of fruit and had some pears on the go so the result was pear & dark chocolate based. It was pretty wonderful with a really lovely crispy brown sugar topping. It's important to remember that eggs still cook a little after they're taken off the heat so if the pudding is a little bit wobbly, don't worry too much and just leave it to settle.

Layers of bread, pear & chocolate - not pretty but delicious

Pear & Chocolate Bread & Butter Pudding

6-8 slices of bread
butter - enough to spread on bread
2 pears
70g dark chocolate, chopped
280 ml milk
1 vanilla pod split lengthwise, or 2 t vanilla extract
300 mL single cream
3 eggs beaten
3 T caster sugar
2 T brown sugar - enough to sprinkle on top

1.  Butter the bread and cut into halves or quarters and cover a greased baking dish with one layer of bread, overlapping each other. Cover this layer with half the sliced pears and chocolate. Repeat the layers, making sure there is a bread layer left on top.
2.  Put the milk in a pan with the vanilla pod or extract and bring to just below simmering point. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes then remove the pod if using, scraping out the seeds into the milk.
3.  Mix the milk, cream, eggs and caster sugar. Pour over the bread and butter and leave to stand for at least 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C.
4.  Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top and bake for 40 minutes until golden and puffy. It might still be a little wobbly but it will be fine. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before eating.