My favourite when making this kind of pudding is to soak the raisins and sultanas in brandy or rum – snip the dried fruit in halve, place them into a small bowl and just cover with the liqueur, stir then cover and leave overnight – when I want to speed things up, I warm the liqueur first, usually leaving to marinate for about an hour. Drain and use the liqueur for something else.
50 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
10 slices white bread – crusts removed (I like it made with Brioche or fruit bread)
25 grams seedless raisins
25 grams golden sultanas
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
10 grams natural brown sugar
300 ml whole (or full fat) milk
100 ml double (or heavy) cream
2 large fresh eggs
20 grams unrefined caster sugar
1/2 vanilla pod – split in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds
Grease (with butter) a 1 litre glass ovenproof dish
Prepare the dried fruit by washing, drying and removing any stems or damaged fruit. See Note 1.
- Spread the slices of bread with butter then cut into triangles.
- Place a layer into the ovenproof dish, overlapping slightly, buttered side up.
- Scatter half of the raisins and half of the sultanas over the bread layer.
- Lightly dust with the cinnamon and nutmeg.
Repeat layers 1 and 2 once more, finishing with the dried fruit.
- Gently heat the milk, cream, vanilla pod and seeds until bubbles begin to appear around the outside of the saucepan, the liquid should not be allowed to boil.
- Put the eggs and sugar into a bowl, whisk until pale and fluffy, allow to stand for 5 minutes then remove the vanilla pod.
- Gradually add about 100 ml of warmed cream and milk to the eggs, while whisking to combine, then slowly add the remainder, while continuing to whisk. Slowly ladle the custard evenly over the bread then gently press the bread into the custard – use your hands for this step.
- Chill for 30 minutes then sprinkle the brown sugar over the surface.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 355ºF, 180ºC, 160ºC fan assisted, Gas Mark 4.
- Place a shelf in the centre of the oven and when the oven comes up to temperature, bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the surface is a light golden brown; well risen and set.
- Serve while hot with ice cream or cream.
Note 1 – prepare the dried fruit, i.e. wash, dry and pick out any damaged fruit. Place into a small bowl, add two tablespoons of Cognac, Brandy or Dark Rum and allow to marinate for about one hour. I usually cut the fruit in half after preparing, then marinate in the liqueur.