My life is made up of staples – simple favourites I like to repeat again and again – and specials – showstoppers for every now and then or something to give a day some extra sparkle! This is one of my staples. It is rustic simplicity and frugality at its best and yet has the power to charm our entire household. I serve it all year round, but it really does come into its own in winter, when a warm pudding feels like the ultimate in luxury. Truth be told, I even serve leftovers for breakfast– and don’t make any apologies for it either! It is far healthier than the vast majority of
breakfast cereals and who doesn’t want pudding in the morning every now and then… with a drizzle of cream… and a hot cappuccino…in bed? I use stale wheat free bread (whatever I happen to have really except Rye), I use croissants, muffins, whatever needs using. And sometimes I buy fresh bread and use that too! Essentially this is just a custard poured over some buttered bread with some jam on it. I feel like a bit of a cheat putting it here as a recipe, if it serves only a reminder though that’s fine by me! Croissants must be the most luxurious choice for me, if you do go this route, pair it with some special ingredients like good white or dark chocolate and some finely chopped candied citrus peel or glacé ginger. If not, raid your pantry and your fridge and use whatever you prefer. This is a basic guide for what I do… most of the time.
About eight slices of bread (remember that here anything white is better)
Jam (I like a currant jam or Bon Mama Blackberry)
½ cup unrefined sugar
3 eggs beaten
1 tsp Vanilla (or slice a pod for something special)
Preheat your oven to 160°.
Butter the bread generously and spread with jam, making 4 jam sandwiches, then cut diagonally into triangles. Depending on the size and shape of the bowl I sometimes cut them again into smaller triangles. I don’t remove the crusts – I like them.
Arrange the sandwiches into an ovenproof dish, try not let the corners stick up too high as it will be difficult for the custard to soak into it then.
Now make your custard by bringing the milk and sugar to the boil, remove from the heat and stir in your beaten eggs and vanilla. If you are using a pod, scrape out the seeds and add it to the milk before boiling. Now pour your custard over the sandwiches and leave to soak until the bread is good and sodden!
My everyday additions now are a sprinkling of extra sugar and mostly also some dried currants – then I pop it into the oven for about an hour until it is golden and delicious. Keep an eye on it and don’t let it overcook as it will dry out then. You want a crunchy exterior with a luscious interior. Serve it with cream or on its own, or some custard if you are so inclined.
Tuck in and give thanks for the guilty pleasures winter brings blowing into your kitchen.