A traditional British dessert, bread and butter pudding is made with buttered slices of white bread baked with a sweetened egg custard, spices, and raisins. It's a rich version of bread pudding and makes a fantastic brunch dish or cozy dessert, drizzled with a little extra cream.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Bread: a good white bread is best, but you could use something with a little whole grain. Choose something with a thin crust rather than a thick and chewy one, like sourdough pan loaf.
- Cream: anything around 35% fat. Don't substitute with more milk, it won't be rich enough.
- Raisins: substitute currants or dried cranberries if preferred, or omit altogether. This can also be served with fresh berries after baking.
- Spices: if you'd like more spice, try subbing a blend like pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon and nutmeg.
Step 1: heat the milk, cream, lemon zest, and raisins in a pot until steaming.
Step 2: mix the lemon juice, eggs, egg yolks, and sugar in a heat-proof bowl.
Step 3: butter both sides of each slice of bread and halve diagonally.
Step 4: arrange the slices in a buttered baking dish so that they overlap one another.
Step 5: slowly pour a half cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
Step 6: pour the egg mixture into the hot cream mixture and whisk to combine. Cook until thickened.
Step 7: stir the spices and salt into the custard.
Step 8: pour the custard over the bread and bake for about 45 minutes. Serve warm.
- Use stale bread: stale slices will soak up the custard more effectively than fresh.
- Cook until thickened: as with any custard, it should be cooked until thickened. It's ready when it coats the back of a wooden spoon and you can run a finger through it (if you don't have a thermometer to check that way).
- Cook until just set: you don't want to over-bake the pudding. It's ready when the middle is still a little wobbly, like another bread pudding or baked custard.
Tempering the egg mixture prevents it from curdling. If your mixture does curdle slightly, you can partly fix it by pressing through a fine mesh sieve, but it's best to simply be patient and let it heat slowly.
Covering the pudding with foil for most of the baking time prevents it from browning too quickly and the raisins from burning. Raisins right at the edges of the dish will, in any case, brown more than those in the middle. Tuck the ones close to the edge down further to stop this from happening.
How to Store
Storage: keep leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for a day or two. Reheat in a toaster oven or in the microwave, but be sure not to reheat something that's been drizzled with extra cream.
Freezing: transfer the cooled bread pudding into airtight containers and freeze for up to three months. We suggest freezing in smaller portions. Thaw in the fridge, then reheat as usual before serving.
Can you reheat homemade bread and butter pudding?
Yes! Reheat bread and butter pudding in the oven or toaster oven until warmed through, 5-10 minutes, or zap it in the microwave for a minute or two. Microwaving will make it very soft and a little soggy, so we recommend the oven method.
How long can you keep bread and butter pudding in the fridge?
While the pudding can be refrigerated for up to five days, it's best the day it's baked or a day or two afterward. The bread at the top starts to dry out the longer it's stored.
Why is my bread pudding so watery?
If your pudding is watery or too liquid after baking, it's probably just under-baked. Be sure to bake it for the time instructed and check the middle when you take it out – it should be just slightly wobbly but not very jiggly.
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Bread and Butter Pudding
- Mixing bowl heat safe
- Measuring cups and spoons or kitchen scale
- Baking dish 9x13 in. or 23x33cm
- 1 medium lemon
- 1 ¼ cup 35% whipping cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup raisins
- 3 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ½ cup salted butter divided, plus extra for greasing the pan
- 10 slices bread stale
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and generously butter a 9x13-inch (23x33-cm) baking dish.
- Zest the lemon directly into a medium-sized pot. Add the whipping cream, whole milk, and raisins. Place the pot over medium-low heat and heat until steamy.1 medium lemon, 1 ¼ cup 35% whipping cream, 1 cup whole milk, ½ cup raisins
- While the custard base is warming, juice the zested lemon directly into a mixing bowl. Add the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar. Whisk well to combine and set aside.1 medium lemon, 3 large eggs, 2 large egg yolks, ⅔ cup sugar
- Butter both sides of each slice of bread and cut each one in half diagonally. Arrange the buttered bread halves in the baking dish so they’re slightly standing and overlapping. Set aside.½ cup salted butter, 10 slices bread
- Scoop ¼ to ½ cup of the hot custard (without raisins) from the pot. Slowly dribble the hot liquid into the egg and sugar mixture while whisking constantly to prevent scrambling.
- Once all of the hot cream is whisked into the eggs, pour the tempered egg mixture back into the pot of remaining custard. Cook the custard over medium-low heat until slightly thickened, about 7 to 9 minutes, or to 170º F (77ºC) whichever comes first. Transfer the raisin custard mixture to a heatproof vessel suitable for holding with your hands (optional) and stir in the vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Spoon the custard and raisins over the arranged bread slices in the baking dish and let soak for 15 minutes. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the custard is wobbly in the middle but not wet. Cool the dish on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving warm with a drizzle of heavy cream.