Let’s use that lovely leftover brioche...finally. My little barbie princess turned 5 yesterday so cupcakes for school and THE birthday cake took top billing for a few days. Fellow Mums, you know the drill well ... balloon blowing, new bike, overtired excitement, slightly jealous sibling/s, sugar high, lots of laughter etc.. I pulled off a 1st and had the cakes finished by 7pm the night before. Finally, Miss 5 chose a cake from the Women’s Weekly Birthday Book without a subtitle ‘this cake is not difficult however time consuming’!
You can use plain white bread, panettone, stale croissants or other fancy sweet breads to make this lovely pud. Traditionally in 17th & 18th Century Britain, it was a popular way of using up stale white bread and baking dessert while the oven was still roast hot. It’s only quite recently that home cooks, British gastropubs and chefs around the world began dressing up this most simple and honest pud.
The idea being all the buttered bread gets completely soaked in a lovely sweet custard. You can scent the custard with lemon or orange rind, nutmeg, brandy, liqueur or other sophistications if you desire. Currants can be used instead of, or as well as, sultanas. I choose to make my B&B pud like my Mum does ie. like my Granny did. Just cinnamon and vanilla. And without extra flourishes - to keep it simple. Just like a kiddie birthday cake ought to be, every year.
Ingredients - 6 thick sliced slices of day old white bread, brioche, panettone or similar ❤ 60 grams of soft butter, plus extra for greasing ❤ 85 grams (½ cup) sultanas ❤ ¼ cup shredded coconut ❤ 700 ml milk ❤ ½ cup cream ❤ 4 tablespoons of caster sugar ❤ 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract ❤ 4 eggs ❤ cinnamon sugar for dusting
Method - Prep time 10 mins / Baking Time 60 mins (plus standing time) Serves 6
Lightly grease a 1-litre capacity ovenproof dish. Pour milk, cream, caster sugar, vanilla and eggs into a jug. Whisk vigorously or beat well to combine. Ensure sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
Butter bread slices on both sides. Cut into small (approx 3cm) squares or rectangles. Arrange half of the bread squares on the bottom of your prepared baking dish for bottom layer.
I don't normally cut sweet crunchy crusts off brioche - perhaps just cut off crusts if using normal white bread.
Scatter half the sultanas and coconut over the top. Place another layer of bread squares on top. Scatter the remaining sultanas and coconut over the bread and pour whisked custard mixture evenly over the entire dish. Stand until bread has absorbed mixture well.
Preheat oven to moderate 170°C (340°F). Sprinkle cinnamon sugar generously all over the pudding top. Set the pudding dish inside a larger baking dish, bain-marie (water bath) style. Fill the larger baking dish with hot water until the water bath is just under halfway up the side of the pudding dish. Bake until golden and set, about 60 minutes. Let stand to cool a little before serving, serve still warm or at room temperature dusted with icing sugar and vanilla ice-cream on the side if desired.