Bread and butter pudding is a classic dessert that has been enjoyed for centuries. Whilst food historians have traced the history of this pudding to the early 11th and 12th Centuries, the first recipe for the same is found in an 18th Century cookbook called The Compleat Housewife written by Eliza Smith.
Waste Not, Want Not
Waste not, want not. One of my gran’s favourite sayings and maybe the basis of the origins of bread pudding. With frugal cooks finding ways to use stale, leftover bread instead of letting it go to waste. Soaking the bread in boiling water before squeezing out the water and adding sugar and whatever spices they had available. It was known at the time as “poor man’s pudding”.
Richer Ingredients, Richer Pudding
It was not until after the 13th Century when butter, eggs and milk became more readily available that the dessert started to transform itself into the pudding that we now know and love.
Over the years, different variations of bread and butter pudding have emerged. Some variations include the addition of fruit or raisins. Others use different types of bread, such as brioche or croissants.
Variations Around The World
In the United Kingdom, bread and butter pudding is a traditional dessert, especially during the colder months when warm, comforting puddings are a welcome treat. In France, you can enjoy “pain perdu” a variation of bread pudding for breakfast or lunch. And, in Italy, be sure to try “budino di pane” which also has orange zest or amaretto.
It is also popular in other parts of the world, such as Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Here ice cream or whipped cream often accompany this already great treat.
Pudin De Pan
We also have our own version of bread and butter pudding in Gibraltar where it is known as Pudin De Pan. In fact, this is one of the first things I ever made in school and have since made it hundreds of times. The recipe we favour at home seems to have some of the original 11th Century components in that we still soak the bread quickly in water and squeeze out the excess liquid. However, the finished product is anything but a “poor man’s pudding” with the addition of custard, juicy plump raisins, zesty lemon and orange and delicious spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg.
Easy To Follow Recipe
The recipe is so easy to follow and can make for a great introduction to baking for your little ones who will surely love the gooey feeling of squeezing the water out of the bread. This is a recipe that you will want to make time and again. It takes so little time to prepare and is a dangerous one if you are trying to lose weight! It has been so tempting to make one for a few weeks now but Dani (hubby) who could easily devour the whole dish as this is one of his all time favourites keeps banning me from doing so as I keep sabotaging his weight loss with my constant experimental baking sessions!
Whenever I do make our pudin de pan, I can’t help but remember my grampa and late uncle who both really loved it. Often when we had family get-togethers my uncle would call ahead to make sure that I was going to make the bread pudding and insisted that I add plenty of “pasas”(raisins). This often meant making two versions, one for uncle Alfred with raisins and a plain one for the rest of the family. Neither went to waste!
- 100g sugar
- 10 slices bread
- 1 large tin of evaporated milk
- 1 large tin of water
- 100g butter
- 2 ½ tbsp custard powder
- Raisins or sultanas (if desired and to taste)
- Zest of an orange and lemon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Nutmeg and Cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 180℃.
- Beat butter and sugar until soft. Add eggs and vanilla extract and beat again to mix.
- In a separate bowl, quickly soak the slices of bread in water. I usually do this for about 4-5 seconds. Squeeze out the liquid and add to the bowl with the butter, sugar and eggs. Mix in well.
- Add the milk and make the custard by adding the powder into the tin of water. Mix well to fully dissolve the powder and then add to the remaining ingredients.
- Grate the lemon and orange rind and add.
- If desired, add raisins or sultanas to the mix at this point. I never measure this out and just gauge by sight what looks like a good amount.
- Pour into an ovenproof dish and sprinkle the top with cinnamon. Bake for around 50-60 minutes. Once ready a knife should come out clean.
Tried And Tested
This version of bread pudding is tried and tested and a staple at so many family tea times. Loved perhaps because of its simplicity and comfort factor, with the warm, custardy texture providing a nostalgic and satisfying experience. However, it is also a dessert that can you can easily adapt to suit different tastes and preferences and whilst researching for this piece I have found countless of delicious looking recipes, such as:
White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Hard Sauce
I found this recipe at Midwest Living who attribute the same to Zingerman’s Roadhouse restaurant in Ann Arbour, Michigan where the same was developed.
Apple Bread Pudding
A cross between apple pie and bread pudding? Sounds good right. Check out this recipe by Oh Sweet Basil.
Cappuccino Bread and Butter Pudding
This recipe by Delicious was created in honour of the late Queen Elizabeth II who reportedly was partial to a good bread and butter pudding. This version includes cappuccino and chocolate!
Panettone Bread Pudding
This version by Jamie Oliver looks like a fabulous Christmas time version and I can’t wait to give it a go this year.
Croissant Bread Pudding
This creation by Simple Joy, has a brown sugar sauce.
Rum and Raisin Bread Pudding
If you are after a boozy variation, check out this recipe by Olive Magazine .
Naan Bread Pudding with Spinach & Caramelized Onions
Not what you were expecting to find right? Neither was I but I came across this recipe by The Food Physician and it looked too good not to share.
Busy Times Ahead!
With all these newly discovered variations, it looks like we will be spending a few hours in the kitchen testing all of these exciting options. Let us know if you have tried any yourselves or if there are any other combinations which you bake and can recommend for our readers.
Check out our other delicious recipes including another typical Gibraltarian dish Arroz Con Leche.