Saturday 4 February 2012

Bread & Butter Pudding

When I first started getting interested in photography, about five years ago, my grandfather handed me his camera. It's a Nikkormat (Nikon) FT from somewhere between 1965-7.

I thought it looked incredibly cool but didn't really know what to do with it. I had no concept of exposure at that point, having only ever used a digital point-and-shoot. I took a film but when I had it developed the envelope contained a discouraging sheet of blanks.

It moved from house to house, shelf to shelf, collecting dust. In one move, it was accidentally dropped and the rewind mechanism sheared off.

I finally got around to taking it to the specialists a few weeks ago for a full service and several repairs. When I finally got it back home again, I managed to complete the alien process of loading film after studying the manual. I took my first 24 exposures in 24 hours, rushing it to the developers as soon as possible.

Thankfully all 24 came out. I made mistakes and they're not perfect - but I was thrilled. The feeling of opening that envelope was priceless.

I can't wait to experiment with photographing food (and friends and places and...) on film. The photos below are a sample of my first film - a shot of the park in the afternoon light and one of my orchid (I thought I'd killed it by leaving it over Christmas but the one of the two remaining buds suddenly burst open that day).

Aside from the fascinating process - being forced to work without electronic gizmos and screens, the proper shutter noise, the agonizing wait to see how they've turned out - I love the character of film. I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but there's something special.

We made brioche in class this week. I intentionally left some to go stale just so I could make this pudding. The bread needs to be stale so that it doesn't disintegrate into a soggy mess when soaked.

I've left this recipe open to adaption. I made it with my marmalade as that's what I had to hand - I didn't add any extra peel/dried fruit. I brûléed a few of the peaks with some cinnamon-infused caster sugar after I'd taken it out of the oven for some crunch and flavour. The dusting of icing sugar was for purely aesthetic purposes.

I also really like the classic version with nutmeg, currants or sultanas and maybe a bit of quality mixed peel. Chocolate chips could sex it up. Try out different combinations and see what you like.

This is a proper pudding. Winter days were made for proper puddings.

Bread & Butter Pudding
(adapted from Delia's Complete Cookery Course)

4-8* slices of stale white bread (such as brioche)
unsalted butter, to spread
175ml milk
25ml cream
20g sugar
little lemon zest
2 eggs

currants/sultanas/fruits/chopped chocolate etc - handful/approx 30g
sprinkle of spices - nutmeg, cinnamon etc
marmalade/jam/maybe lemon curd - few tbsps
icing or caster sugar to dust/caramelize

Start by buttering one or both sides of the bread, depending on how decadent you're feeling. If you're using jam or marmalade, sandwich the slices with a slick of the preserve. Cut in half into triangles. Stick into a dish (mine was about , standing up or propped up against each other.

In a jug mix the milk, cream, sugar and zest together. In another bowl break up the eggs. Whisk the two liquids together. Pour all over the bread. It seems like there's too much liquid but don't worry. Leave to sit for 15-20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Sprinkle with any currants/etc. I also dusted the bread poking out with a little cinnamon sugar. Pop into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes - the custard should be golden brown and set and the bread should be crispy on top. You can caramelize some caster sugar on the bread with a blow torch or dust with icing sugar - or both!

I find this is best eaten warm.

* Depends on size - mine were very small so I used 8, normal loaves you'll need 4-6.

(Serves 2-4)


  1. Beautiful and delicious as always, Emma! SO fun to see you branching into your grandfather's old film camera. Your first shots are wonderful... cannot wait to see more:)

  2. Lovely, Emma. Film is so much fun. You've inspired me to think about shooting a HY post in film one day soon. Hmm.. hope you're well.

  3. There's nothing like film photography, it's my first true love! My favourite cameras are my really old ones, one from the 50s and one from the 30s. That waiting and surprise of only seeing the images after you've developed them is priceless. Oh, and this bread and butter pudding sounds just gorgeous.

  4. The bread and butter pudding looks fantastic, perfect for a snowy day. Also, it's so nice that you've finally got the camera to work. The film photos look gorgeous, too. There's something so magical about having to wait and see your image, not to mention how precious film is now!

  5. There is something intoxicating about film photography and you've shown why. I have an old and very cheap film camera I was bought when I was a teen. I should dust it off and see whether it still has the old magic!

    Just made some Brioche this weekend and wondering what to do with the remnants. Although it's summer here in NZ this will do wonderfully well left to go cold!

  6. Perfect for the current weather. Wonderful photogrpahs as always! Keep inspiring me.

  7. I cannot wait to see your film photos!
    Meanwhile, this bread pudding looks incredible.

  8. Congrats for taking great photos with your granddad's camera :) I don't remember the last time I used a camera that used film ~ I remember we use to have to pay more if we wanted the photos developed the next day hehe or mum would make us wait at least a week so that it was cheaper ~

  9. erin @ yummy supper - I've had so much fun playing with it. Looking forward to sharing some more soon!

    Kels - I'd love to see a Happyolks post shot in film! I am well thanks, hope you are too :)

    Emiko -I remember you telling me at FBC that you'd learnt on film and loved it. Having one from the 30s sounds amazing. The wait is agonizing - I don't want to waste the rest of this film but I'm dying to see the shots I've already taken!

    Emilia - It is perfect for a snowy day! It's so sad that film is getting a bit rare.

    Domestic Executive - Sounds like a fantastic plan! Hope to see some of the photos if you do :) I reckon it would be lovely cold or barely warm in the summer.

    cakeboule - Getting to have lovely hot puddings is definitely a perk of this weather! I'm so glad you like them & find them inspiring :)

    Anh -Thanks! I'm really looking forward to trying out some film food shots.

    Daisy@Nevertoosweet - There is so much waiting involved isn't there - at the development shop too, as you say. Good to have to stop and wait sometimes - we're so used to instant gratification nowadays!

  10. Hey Emma,

    I am new to your blog...can't quite remember how I found it! think I was searching for an orange recipe and google gave me your blog as somewhere to find one. Your site has been such an inspiration to me, Im at home with 11 week old twin boys and find that a baking obsession have taken over me (much to my husbands dismay). Not everything I make is very good....I was not born with the gift (like you obviously were!) to make food but I LOVE to bake. I don't like to cook regular food. But I keep trying with the baking! I am going to make your hot cross buns v.3 today, I did make the tarte au citron but it was a little too sharp - I think the lemons themselves were not ripe (if a lemon even gets ripe?) but I loved it anyway. I was just wondering if you had a brioche recipe? Its not really savory as (like with your bagel recipe) you can have nutella on it ;-) or jam etc. I have tried a couple but I think the main problem is that the mixture is always too sticky (even after refridgeration) or liquid. I live in Norway (but am from England) and they do not have strong bread flour here (or self raising so I have to make my own,but I have no idea how to make strong bread flour! eek!) so that might also be the problem.

    I ate little individual brioche when I was a child, they were slightly crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside - not dry like the manufactured brioche you find in the supermarket.

    Also, your pictures are do you get the objects in the background to be blurry? Would be quite cool to do that with pictures of my boys. :-)

  11. Hi Emma,

    I was looking around lots of blogs to find a good recipe for Bread and Butter pudding! Thank you so much.

  12. Claire - Sorry for the delay! It was so lovely to read your comment. The tarte au citron is pretty tart - I don't know if lemons can be unripe but I think different people have different lemon thresholds :)

    I have made brioche before but never posted about it - this summer perhaps. The recipe I used was from this great bread book and it came out really well. Brioche is a particularly difficult one - the best doughs are pretty sticky but shouldn't be liquid. The bread flour will make a big difference - it's to do with
    the gluten formation, which would cause it to be too liquid. They will have strong bread flour there but will have another name - I don't know what it is - but otherwise they wouldn't have bread! In France they call it T55 (T45 is normal flour) - perhaps that will help.

    As far as the picture question - it's bokeh - essentially to do with depth of focus - I shoot a lot of my photos at f2.8 or similar so there's only a small amount in focus. Play around on manual setting and you'll work it out :)

    Isabella - Glad you like it!


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