Thanks to Rachel who sent me a recipe for bread pudding that I am trying for the first time today. It is one from a BBC America TV show that she happened to catch one day. It seemed interesting to her so I am giving it a try.
The first thing I had to do was to convert all the metric measurements to the standard ones with which I am familiar, grams to ounces, Centigrade to Fahrenheit, etc. Then I had to find out what castor sugar and demarara sugar are. Castor sugar is extra-finely granulated white sugar. You can make your own with a food processor by grinding regular white sugar for a few seconds. Demerara is a brown sugar also granulated, but slightly coarser than white sugar but not as coarse as turbinado sugar. At least that’s what I think they are based on what I could find out on the internet.
There are websites that can convert metric measures to US friendly measures. I found a handy conversion calculator for degrees Celsius to degrees Fahrenheit and vice versa.
I used regular white sugar for the castor sugar and I ground up some Turbinado in a coffee bean grinder to make a substitute for the demerara. As my luck would have it, the grinder had last been used to grind up some herby concoction and smelled of savoriness unsuitable for mixing with sugar. I had to clean it out by grinding some white rice. That should serve as a lesson for us all. Clean up as you go. Unfortunately, when preparing a meal there is enough to do without remembering the benefits of grinding white rice in a coffee grinder before putting it away. Anyway, I wound up with a weird textured brown sugar and I had no idea whether or not it would be adequate. A check of the recipe told me that it was just to be sprinkled on the top of the pudding so I figured it wouldn’t matter too much whether I had ground it or not. Another lesson: read the entire recipe carefully before proceeding. I would have saved myself some trouble. Of course, I did get the coffee grinder clean.
Double cream isn’t readily available in the US. I used heavy cream with somewhat less butterfat than double cream has. It is possible to make a closer substitution but I didn’t want to go to that trouble.
The rest of the ingredients were pretty standard. Baileys Irish Cream was one of the ingredients. I had both Baileys and Brogans. I used the Brogans because I don’t like it as a drink quite as well as Baileys. It was just a flavoring for the pudding, after all.
After baking, and glazing, the pudding rested for a while and I had lunch. For dessert I had warm bread pudding and it was very tasty. I would definitely make it again.
Baguette Pudding Laced with Baileys
50 g. soft butter (I have no idea how much this is. I just used as much butter as necessary to butter the baking dish and the bread, probably about half a stick.)
1/2 large baguette, thinly sliced (150 g, about 1/3 lb.)
60 g. Sultanas or dried cranberries or both (I used about 2 ounces of raisins)
2 large eggs
2 large yolks
40 g. Castor sugar (1.3 ounces – I used my kitchen scale to measure)
300 ml Double Cream (I used heavy cream, about 1 and 1/4 c.)
300 ml Milk
4 T. Baileys
Demerara sugar (to sprinkle on top)
3 T. apricot jam
1. Use butter to grease the sides of a 1.5 litre shallow ovenproof dish. (I used an 8 X 8 pyrex dish.) Spread 2-3 teaspoons jam on the bottom of the dish and sprinkle some of the fruit on top.
2. Butter the bread slices. (I just buttered one side)
3. Arrange the bread in the dish in overlapping layers, sprinkling the dried fruit between.
4. Beat the eggs, yolks and sugar together until creamy. Then beat in the cream, milk and Baileys.
5. Slowly pour this mixture over the bread.
6. Press the bread down gently with your fingers so they are completely submerged.
7. Let stand for about 20 minutes to allow the bread to soak up the custard.
8. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. (356 degrees Fahrenheit – I set the oven to 350)
9. Place the dish in a roasting pan and surround it with boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the dish. (This “bain-marie” or water bath prevents overheating the custard which might curdle.)
10. Sprinkle the pudding with the demerara sugar and bake for 40-50 minutes until golden brown.
11. Shortly before the time is up, warm the apricot jam until runny.
12. Dab this glaze over the surface of the pudding and leave it to stand for 15 minutes before serving. (The custard will continue to cook and firm up during this time.)
13. Trickle a little more Baileys over each portion to serve, if desired.
Note: I tore up the bread slices so that they would fit in the pan more easily, and it worked out fine.