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March 14, 2010

This weekend, I decided to contribute an indulgent pudding for Sunday dinner to share with my housemate and boyfriend. I confess that I’m not so hot on making desserts as not really grown up eating many but ever since my housemate introduced me to Delia Smith‘s chocolate bread and butter pudding a few years back, it has spurred me on to put an effort into learning how to make some classic desserts but somehow didn’t get round to making any! I’ll never forget the sensation of warm chocolate sauce melding with the slightly crispy baked bread in my mouth. It was so moreish, luxurious, creamy, sweet and unbelievably simple to prepare according to my housemate. Recently been having chocolate cravings so needed to bite the bullet and get onto making a chocolate pud. How could I resist making it and be afraid of producing a fabulous dessert which includes stale bread, cream, butter, sugar and dark chocolate as the main ingredients! Plus I’ve got Delia to count on!

Served the pudding with cream and it went down a treat with boyfriend declaring it “DIVINE!!” and housemate just scoffed down a quarter of the dessert from the baking dish down his gullet meaning he was well satisfied. Now I’m even more determined to go and make more desserts with this type of response!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this dessert, this is a traditional and popular English dish with many variations where the basic version consists of buttered layers of white stale bread with raisins scattered over, baked in an egg and milk mixture. This pudding is often associated with school dinners and frugality as it’s a simple and economical dish to produce, however it can be as luxurious as you want. In fact, it has more recently come back into fashion with celebrity chefs including Jamie Oliver and Gary Rhodes championing this classic, humble dish by serving this in expensive restaurants with revised, sophisticated recipes, thus elevating this back into the hearts of the British people.

Why use stale bread some of you may ask? This enables the bread to soak up more of the sauce so the end result should be soft, moist with a crispy topping after baking. If possible, leave the bread soaking in the chocolately sauce for up to 2 days in advance to obtain an extra richness.

Chocolate bread and butter pudding

Published in “The Delia collection: chocolate”

Serves 6

9 slices good quality white bread, one day old, taken from a large, medium sliced loaf

5 oz (150 g) dark chocolate (70-75% cocoa solids), broken into small pieces

3 oz (75 g) unsalted butter

15 fl oz (425 ml) whipping cream

4 tablespoons dark rum

4 oz (110 g) caster sugar

good pinch of cinnamon

3 large eggs

To serve:

Well-chilled pouring cream

You will also need a shallow ovenproof dish 7 x 9 inches (18 x 23 cm) base x 2 inches (5 cm) deep, lightly buttered.

  1. Begin by removing the crusts from the slices of bread, which should leave you with 9 pieces about 4 inches (10 cm) square. So now cut each slice into 4 triangles.
  2. Place the chocolate, whipping cream, rum, sugar, butter and cinnamon in a bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, being careful not to let the bowl touch the water, then wait until the butter and chocolate have melted and the sugar has completely dissolved.
  3. Remove the bowl from the heat and give it a really good stir to amalgamate all the ingredients.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and then pour over the chocolate mixture and whisk again very thoroughly to blend them together.
  5. Spoon about a ½ inch (1 cm) layer of the chocolate mixture into the base of the dish and arrange half the bread triangles over the chocolate in overlapping rows. Now, pour half the remaining chocolate mixture all over the bread as evenly as possible, then arrange the rest of the triangles over that, finishing off with a layer of chocolate. Use a fork or the back of a spoon to press the bread gently down so that it gets covered very evenly with the liquid as it cools.
  6. Cover the dish with clingfilm and allow to stand at room temperature for 2 hours before transferring it to the fridge for a minimum of 24 (but preferably 48) hours before cooking.
  7. When you’re ready to cook the pudding, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C). Remove the clingfilm and bake in the oven on a high shelf for 30-35 minutes, by which time the top will be crunchy and the inside soft and squidgy. Leave it to stand for 10 minutes before serving with well-chilled pouring cream poured over.
2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 23, 2012 3:18 am

    Great recipe, I made it last night and loved it. I’d like to try your suggestion of soaking the bread for a couple of days – yum. It’s fun attempting to master the classics.

  2. January 23, 2012 9:33 am

    Thanks for your comment, it’s always a good thing to try out classics and then try and put your own original twist on it!

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