Friday, 19 January 2018

Bread pudding recipes

Pear and whisky bread pudding

I don't like to throw away food. I like to keep a nice tight pantry.
After my New Year's Eve fondue event, in which people ate a great deal less bread than I had planned, I ended up with two large basketfuls of stale white bread, cut into squares. What the fuck am I going to do with this?
Then I remembered the bread pudding that my Nanny Savino made. It was the old war-time rationing style bread pudding, heavy, sweet, comforting. Nanny Savino sold squares of it from her council flat front door in Holloway, along with toffee apples and Woodbines. This dish is from a time when nobody threw anything away.
I made two versions of this bread pudding, using up jam jar preserves from my pantry. The first version, made with a jar of prunes in Armagnac, was dark, fudgy and alcoholic, almost indistinguishable from Christmas pudding. The second bread pudding was lighter and paler, with vanilla and pears stewed in whisky and white wine. It shows that bread pudding is endlessly adaptable.

Prunes in Armagnac

I spent quite a bit of my childhood in France, near a village called Condom in the Armagnac region. We had these every day for pudding. Even kids were given alcohol in south west France in the 70s. I got sick of them at the time. 

250g prunes from Agen, semi-dried
200ml water
100g sugar
1 vanilla pod
250ml Armagnac or more if you wish.

Bring the prunes, water, sugar and vanilla pod to the boil, then simmer gently for half an hour. Pour into a sterilised litre jar with the Armagnac. Store in a dark cool cupboard. These get better as time goes on. The bottle I used was five years old, therefore very pungent.

Dark Bread Pudding

Prunes in Armagnac or
250g of mixed dried fruits soaked in 250ml of either sherry, armagnac, brandy, rum or whisky
75g brown sugar
1/2tsp mixed spice
Zest of an orange
1/2tsp of nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
500g of white bread, (I kept the crusts)
250ml of whole milk
50g salted butter, melted
1 egg, beaten

Soak the dried fruit with the sugar, spice, zest, nutmeg and cloves in one bowl.
In another larger bowl soak the bread in the milk.
Preheat the oven to 180c.
Butter a shallow baking dish (20 x 15cm approximately)
When the bread is soft, take another bowl and combine the melted butter and egg.
Place all three bowls (bread, alcoholic fruit and egg mix) together and pour into the baking dish.
Bake for an hour.

Light Bread Pudding

500g white bread
250ml milk
100g white sugar
1tsp vanilla paste
50g salted butter, melted
1 egg
750ml to 1 litre jar poached whole pears (4 -6 pears) in brandy, whisky or white wine.

In one bowl soak the bread and milk.
In another smaller bowl, mix the sugar, vanilla, butter and egg.
Preheat the oven to 180ºc.
Butter a shallow baking dish (20 x 15cm approximately)
When the bread is soft, add the sugar and egg mixture.
Drain the poached pear alcohol into the mixture and stir.
Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish.
Add the pears, pressing them into the batter decoratively.
Bake for an hour.

Serve with custard or cream.


  1. Stale pannetone!!! And plump sweet sherry raisins!!! Regards Nicolet

  2. I have recently been trying to make 'panelatte', basically the same type of cake but in the style used in the Italian alps. It reminds me of childhood, plus I have a lot of stale homebaked bread. But when I asked the locals for recipes they were very vague on the amounts of each "use a few stale bread rolls" ( how many, what size?). I winged it and results were not great. It is fabulous that you post this now, so I can follow a proper recipe! Thanks!

    1. Let me know how it goes... I found it quite a flexible recipe.


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