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The earliest documented recipe of this British classic comes from 1723 and it’s been a favourite on school dinner menus ever since albeit (let’s hope) without the bone marrow which typifies the original recipe – included for it’s supposed medicinal properties. My take on it sees the addition of brioche and dark chocolate but if you’re health conscious you can keep the Green & Blacks in its foil and switch brioche for a brown loaf.

Serves 6

380ml double cream
380 ml milk
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
4 free range eggs
2 egg yolks
180g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
30g unsalted butter
80g sultanas or raisins soaked in 50ml sugar syrup
(50g sugar, 50ml water for 30 mins)

200g brioche

Icing sugar
50g broken up dark chocolate

For the custard
Bring the milk, cream and vanilla seeds to the boil. Then in a mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and salt. When the milk and cream comes to the boil pour over the eggs and whisk continually.

Putting together the pudding
Butter your baking dish and pour in a layer of custard followed by a scattering of sultanas and broken up chocolate pieces. Slice the brioche and layer it onto the custard in an attractive way. Build up the pudding with layers of brioche then custard, sultanas and chocolate. Once your brioche is in place, gently pour the remaining custard over your slices ensuring that they are all well soaked. Leave the pudding to stand for a few minutes allowing the brioche to fully absorb the custard. Bake at 170 Celsius for around 30 minutes until the custard is set.

To serve
Dust the top with icing sugar and serve with home made vanilla custard.

Easy custard – makes 1 pint
1 pint of milk
55ml cream
1 vanilla pod, seeds removed

4 free range egg yolks
30g caster sugar
2 level tsp corn flour

Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into a saucepan with the milk and cream and bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes allowing the flavour of the vanilla to infuse into the milk. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, sugar and corn flour until well combined. Then pour the milk over the eggs whisking continuously. Serve immediately or cool over cold water and reheat when required.

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