Nigella Lawson's Ginger Jam Bread and Butter Pudding
It is no secret that Nigella Lawson is a favorite of mine. I enjoy her approach to entertaining, to make things elegant but easy. This bread pudding couldn't be easier and it fills the house with the most wonderful smell.
While this is one of my go-to recipes, one of the main ingredients, ginger jam, isn't so easy to find in the U.S. When friends travel to the U.K. I often ask them to bring back a jar for me and so I have a ready supply on hand. I happily accept preserves, conserves, or spreads.
If you don't have ginger jam Nigella recommends using marmalade or apricot jam instead. I haven't tried either although I am sure they would be equally delicious. If I were to try one of the other options, I might add some chopped candied ginger to bring in the ginger flavor of the original.
Other than the ginger jam, the rest of the ingredients are straight-forward and are easily exchanged for other pantry items - use white bread instead of brown; regular raisins instead of golden raisins; or brandy instead of rum. I almost never have Demerara or Turbinado sugar so I use regular (light) brown sugar.
In terms of assembly, it is a matter of putting together a few bread and jam sandwiches, making a very simple custard, and getting everything into a buttered casserole dish. I've also made these in individual ramekins for easy serving. Best of all, no bain marie or water bath is required.
As simple as this recipe is, a little goes a long way and it can feed a crowd. It can be served in the British style with a side of custard (which my friend Sharon would love) or with some unsweetened whipped cream.
Nigella Lawson's Grandmother's Ginger-Jam Bread and Butter PuddingModified slightly from the original recipe
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
½ cup golden raisins
3 tablespoons dark rum
10 slices soft brown bread
Approximately 10 tablespoons ginger conserve, marmalade, or apricot jam
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons Demerara, Turbinado, or brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease an oven-proof casserole dish or a shallow baking dish with the capacity of about 1½-quarts with some of the butter.
Put the raisins in a small bowl, pour the rum over, and microwave for 30 seconds, then leave to stand. This is a good way to rehydrate them quickly.
Make the sandwiches with the brown bread, butter and ginger jam (2 tablespoonfuls in each sandwich); you should have some butter left over to smear the top later. Now cut the sandwiches in half into triangles and arrange them evenly along the middle of the dish. Place one triangle in the dish with the point-side up, the next one with the point side down, and so on. Squeeze a sandwich-triangle down each side, as needed. Sprinkle with the raisins and unabsorbed rum that remains in the bowl.
Whisk the egg yolks and egg together with the sugar, and mix in the cream and milk. Pour this over the triangles of bread and leave them to soak up the liquid for about 10 minutes, by which time the pudding is ready to go into the oven. Smear the bread crusts that are poking out of the custard with the soft butter, mix the ground ginger and Demerara sugar together and sprinkle this mixture on your buttered crusts and then lightly over the rest of the pudding.
Sit the pudding dish on a baking sheet and put in the oven to cook for about 45 minutes or until the custard has set and puffed up slightly. Remove, let sit for 10 minutes - by which time the puffiness will have deflated somewhat - and spoon out into bowls, putting a pitcher of custard, should you wish, on the table to be served alongside.