For the bread and butter pudding:
- 500 g day-old bread (you can use any type of bread, brioche or croissants)
- 5 free-range or organic eggs
- 3 free-range or organic egg yolks
- 1 litre full-cream milk
- 175 g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half
- 2 tablespoons brown or demerara sugar
For the crème anglaise:
- 500 ml full-cream milk
- 6 free-range or organic egg yolks
- 250 g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
This is a traditional British pudding that has evolved from the 17th century ‘bread pudding’, a way of using up stale bread.
During the 1980s and 1990s the classic bread and butter pudding was again on the menu, this time with more exotic ingredients. This is the Bitton version with the addition of a rich vanilla custard. Use the best ingredients — eggs, milk, vanilla — for a wonderfully simple dessert.
Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F). Grease a 25 cm ovenproof dish — a size to fit all the bread slices in one layer.
For the bread and butter pudding, slice the bread into 2 cm slices. Place on the base of the prepared dish.
Lightly whisk the eggs, egg yolks, milk and sugar in a large jug. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean, stir into the mixture.
Pour about three-quarters of the egg/milk mixture over the bread layer. Let it sit for 5 minutes allowing the mixture to soak into the bread before adding the rest of the mixture.
Evenly sprinkle the sugar over the top of the dish. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until set. The top of the custard will be slightly firm to the touch.
For the crème anglaise, in a medium-sized saucepan, bring the milk with the vanilla bean to a simmer over low heat. Remove from heat, take out the vanilla bean and split it in half. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and scraped out seeds of the vanilla bean until pale and thick.
Strain the hot milk onto the egg mixture, whisking all the time, until the mixture thickens. Pour back into the saucepan, return to stove over low heat. Using a wooden spoon, continually stir the custard until it begins to thicken, coating the back of the spoon. This can take about 10 minutes or more. Remove from the heat and cool.To serve, cut the bread and butter pudding into squares. Place on serving plates. Spoon over crème anglaise. For a decadent treat, add a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.