I freeze breadcrumbs regularly, using up loaf ends, storing them in plastic ‘take-away’ type containers. (These come in several sizes and the deep ones I have hold about 8ozs each.) The original recipe suggests not using the crusts, but I always do. Two of these containers give me enough for a double batch of this spicy, fruity family favourite recipe and I have made it on many occasions. It is so popular in our house I always make a double quantity as a single is never enough – and it is great for packed lunches! It is a simple recipe for a child or novice cook.
The original recipe comes from Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course (the final section, on using up leftovers). I have made just a few minor changes to the original recipe. Delia writes: ‘This is a lovely spicy cross between a cake and a pudding – perfect for using left-over bread.’ Since I added this recipe I have discovered that another friend makes the same version, substituting glace cherries for some of the dried mixed fruit. Delicious. Other dried fruits could be part substituted as well: dates, figs, glace ginger, apricots would all be good for a change.
Old-fashioned Bread Pudding
(This double size recipe makes around 12 pieces)
1lb/450g breadcrumbs (can be white or brown)
4ozs/100g butter, melted
6ozs/150g soft brown sugar (use demerara or white if not available)
4 level tsp mixed spice
2 eggs, beaten
12ozs/350g dried mixed fruit (currants, raisins, sultanas, candied peel)
Grated rind of 1 orange
Freshly grated nutmeg
1. Preheat oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4
2. Line an oblong baking tray with baking parchment. The one I use is 12 x 9 x 2 inches (aprox 31 x 23 x 5 cm) but the exact size is not crucial as long as the container is big enough for the mixture. Ideally use a square or oblong tray to make cutting into regular pieces easy.
3. Put the crumbs in a bowl, pour over the milk, stir and leave for about 30 minutes so the bread is well soaked.
4. Add the melted butter, almost all the sugar (retain about 3tbsp for the crunchy topping), mixed spice and beaten eggs. Beat the mixture well until there are no lumps. Stir in the mixed fruit and orange rind. Substitute glace cherries or other dried fruit for some of the mixed fruit in the recipe if you wish (see 2nd paragraph above)
5. Spoon into the baking tray and sprinkle with the reserved sugar and grated nutmeg.
6. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 1¼-1½ hours.
7. Turn out, peel off the baking parchment and cool on a wire tray.
8. Serve warm as a dessert with cream or custard or cold as a cake. Store in an airtight box or tin.