Bread and Butter Pudding is a British classic – and it is one of my favorite puddings in the whole wide world. (I’ve traveled far and wide enough to feel I can justify saying that!)
This dessert is likely evolved from earlier dishes like “whitepot,” a medieval pudding made with bread, cream, and sugar. Over time, it became a favorite in British households, and variations of it have since spread to other countries. In American cuisine, there is a similar dessert known as “Cold Bread Pudding.”
There is nothing fancy about this simple bread and butter pudding, no specialist ingredients, just bread that’s a day or two past its best and a few other things you’re bound to have in your stock cupboard.
When I was a child staying with my grandparents, my grandad and I would race to see who would finish pudding first, and this was the only pudding I could ever beat him on. it’s full of good memories, of warm kitchens and cozy nights with my grandparents, of simple food, and of love.
There are many, many variations on bread and butter pudding. Some add chocolate (chips or chunks), fruits (raisins, bananas, lemon, apples, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries), jams (apricot), whisky or marmalade, nutella, or both chocolate and fruits (chocolate orange or chocolate and raspberry).
Some swap bread or croissants for brioche, use cream or condensed milk rather than milk, or create a vegan recipe (dairy-free and eggless).
However, this is a back-to-basics version and I would choose it every time. Here is how to make a traditional bread and butter pudding, no cream. By the way, you can try my other British dessert recipes here.
Bread and Butter Pudding
- About half a loaf of bread sliced, buttered and cut into squares (stale is fine – the custard soaks in so well)
- 2 medium eggs
- 1/2 a pint of milk
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- Rasins and sultanas
- Mixed spice
- Grease a square baking dish and preheat the oven to 180oC.
- Put the caster sugar and milk into a pan and heat gently, stirring all the time until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is heated through – but do not boil.
- Whisk the eggs together in a bowl then add the milk mixture a bit at a time, whisking well.
- Place squares of bread into the dish so that they cover the bottom. Sprinkle with a handful of the raisins, sultanas, and some mixed spice. Pour over enough of the custard to soak all the squares. Then repeat for another layer. For the final layer, repeat, but omit the raisins and sultanas. You should use up all the custard.
- Place into the oven and cook for 40-45 mins until the top is browned and crunchy and the custard has set. Serve immediately, with cold milk for pouring.