I just asked Facebook’s hive mind for some quick suggestions on what to listen to while doing some writing. I’m such a creature of habit and I can easily get stuck on the same playlist over and over again, until I get really sick of it. That’s all good though. When that finally happens I just like to try something new. And it’s not Christmas music; I only listened to some of that this morning while doing some early cooking prep. It didn’t help one bit to induce the Christmas spirit. So here I am listening to some soft pop and enjoying it. Don’t judge. If you’re curious Ed Sheeran just came up. Not bad. Not bad at all.
I can tell you now that I never tire of bread and butter pudding. In Malta we do have our own version of that, and I must get the recipe from my mum. I love one with a crunch on the outside and softness on the inside. Heaven. The following recipe is my riff on the British version. I have seen Nigella and Jamie make versions of this years ago and it stuck with me. I made in on a whim a few months ago while baking a storm in the kitchen.
I bought a couple of batches of a Maltese brioche-style bread called qagħaq tal-ħmira that I forgot about until the next day – lovely round beauties that look like bagels but taste nothing like it. They are sweet and are usually sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. They go down so well when quickly dunked in a cup of hot cocoa during these colder months. Trust me. They soak up liquid like nothing else so dunk and apply to face, OK?
So it was a good excuse to make a pudding (you don’t need an excuse, really) and chocolate had to come into play. Just because. I don’t usually use chocolate chips. I prefer to cut a 100g bar into chunks, but there’s no denying that chips are convenient. The only thing is that I only found really small ones here. I miss the ones I used to get in Michigan.
This recipe couldn’t be simpler, and good. And it may also give you that cozy and fuzzy feeling, so just be warned! You can add anything you want to this, cream or vanilla ice cream all make the cut. I know I would love some salted caramel served with it. Perhaps next time. Good luck. This also comes with my very best wishes to you and yours. Happy Christmas.
- 300g stale brioche-style bread, or thereabouts
- 100g dark chocolate chips or chunks
- 3 eggs
- 50g sugar
- 500ml milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- around 3 teaspoons demerara sugar
- knob of butter, for greasing the loaf pan
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a glass or ceramic loaf pan with a knob of butter.
Cut the brioche bread in halves or chunky cubes and place them in the pan. As you do this sprinkle the chocolate chips in between the bread layers as evenly as you can.
Beat the eggs, sugar, milk and vanilla extract in a large measuring jug or bowl and carefully pour the liquid into the cake pan and also onto the bread. Make sure most of the bread is soaked. You can do this by pressing the bread down into the milk mixture.
Set the pan aside for around 20 minutes or until you wipe down and clean your kitchen counter. Sprinkle the demerara sugar onto the bread pudding and bake it for around 45 minutes, or until the top turns a lovely golden brown.
Let the pan stand on a wire rack to cool slightly but serve while the pudding is still very warm. There’s nothing like it.