Conscious of the amount of food wasted in this country I try wherever possible to use up all of our leftovers and mostly do this quite successfully. However the one area where I struggle to avoid waste is with the common loaf.
A standard loaf of bread proves to much for the two of us and, more often than not, is stale before we're half way through it. Freeze it in two halves I hear you cry, but I have a small freezer and to fill it with bread would be wasteful. So with my conscience pricking me I have made a bread and butter pudding for our meal tonight...a pudding with a twist...
Boozy Bread and Butter Pudding
butter, for greasing
4 thick slices of stale bread, cubed
3 tbsp apricot preserve, heated to make a glaze
a good handful of sultanas, soaked in 3 tbsp Port for at least 2 hours
3 egg yolks
3 tbsp castor sugar
16 fl ozs milk
1 tbsp Port
Butter the inside of the dish you will be using to bake the pudding and then dust with castor sugar. I used my favourite 6" pie dish.
Make the creme anglaise by beating the egg yolks and sugar together in a large measuring jug. Heat the milk until almost boiling and then add to the egg mixture beating all the time. Return the egg mixture to the pan and heat gently until the custard coats the back of a spoon. Note: the custard will be quite liquid at this point, do not allow the custard to boil or the eggs will scramble. Leave to cool and when cool stir in the tbsp of Port. Set aside.
Spoon the apricot preserve into the bottom of the dish. Then add the cubed bread, sultanas and custard in layers until you have used up all the ingredients. Leave the mixture to settle.
Heat the oven to 180C. Put the dish in a roasting tin and fill the tin 3/4 full with boiling water (a bain marie). Sprinkle a little demerara sugar over the pudding and bake in the oven for 10 mins then turn the heat down to 160C and continue to bake for another 15-20 mins. Remove from the oven, the pudding will continue to cook in the bain marie. Wait 5 mins and then serve with single cream or creme fraiche.