Food & Drink

Bread and butter pudding

Bread and butter pudding

1/4 cup amaretto

12 slices white bread, crusts removed

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted

9 egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla paste (see note)

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons granulated sugar, to dust the top of pudding

3 oz. sliced almonds, lightly toasted

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Soak the raisins in amaretto and leave covered with plastic wrap at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut 4 slices of bread into 1/2-inch dice and spread the diced bread on the bottom of a casserole dish. Sprinkle the raisins on top of the bread cubes and pour any remaining liquid over the bread.

Cut the remaining 8 slices of bread in half diagonally, and then cut each half slice in half diagonally to create 4 even triangles per slice. Dip the triangles into the butter and arrange on top of the raisins, overlapping the triangles slightly. Pour any remaining butter over the top of the bread.

Whisk the yolks, vanilla paste and sugar in a large bowl until combined. Bring the milk and cream to a boil in a heavy saucepan over high heat, and pour the hot mix into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the warm egg mixture over the bread, making sure all of the bread is coated, and set aside for 20 minutes to allow the egg mixture to soak into the bread.

Place the casserole dish in a roasting tray filled with hot water halfway up the sides of the casserole dish, and bake on the middle rack in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown on top, with the filling just set.

Remove the dish from the oven and roasting tray, and sprinkle with the extra sugar. Broil or use a creme brulee torch to caramelize the sugar. Sprinkle with the toasted, sliced almonds, and dust with powdered sugar. Cool slightly, and serve warm with a jug of cream and some fresh berries.

NOTE: Vanilla paste is available at specialty food and kitchenware stores. Substitute 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract if you don't have it.

- "Eating Royally," Darren McGrady