My skills and reputation in the kitchen were put to the test this weekend by the opportunity to cook a celebratory dinner for my dear household partner George for his birthday. The plan had been hatched in advance to throw the party at his house in Melbourne as it was ideal for entertaining, with a few invited guests. The number of guests for this meal by the time replies were back was twelve – a bigger affair than my usual cooking soirees! Nonetheless with a few good recipes up my sleeve and a good amount of planning, the night went off without a hitch and all had a marvellous meal and time. No stress or sweat come the party, but a lot of prep beforehand!
The main post about the first few courses I shall make another time, but since the 52 Week Baking Challenge continues unabated, it helped shape my thinking for the pudding course that this week had to include a Caramel element. A suggestion for the classic homely fave Bread and Butter Pudding had been requested, so it wasn’t too hard to come up with putting a delicious caramel twist on this perennial favourite. The beauty with these puds were their individual nature which made them ideal for dinner party fare, plus it was no problem to make them ahead and focus on the other courses. The caramel sauce came together beautifully and cooled to room temperature while the rest of proceedings were going on. Meanwhile the bread butter chocolate filling was combined in the ramekins and put in the fridge, while the milk and eggs mixture was in a jug ready for pouring come the time for dessert. It was so simple yet really finished the dinner with a bang by the time the scoop of ice cream went on!
A recipe below provides the quantity needed for four puds, but you can easily double or triple it should you find yourself in a similar dinner party dilemma – plus extra caramel for your pantry, of course!
Individual Bread and Butter Puddings with Caramel Sauce
For the Puddings:
- 8 slices fruit bread
- 250g softened butter
- 60 g grated dark chocolate
- 60 g soft brown sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup (250 ml) milk
- ¼ cup (60 ml) cream
- ground cinnamon, to sprinkle
- grated dark chocolate, to serve
- vanilla ice cream, to serve
For the caramel sauce:
- 330g caster sugar
130g brown sugar
300ml thickened cream
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/). Grease four round l¼ cup (315 ml) ramekins.
- Make the caramel so it has time to cool before serving the puds. First combine the caster sugar and water in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to the boil. Then, reduce heat to medium and boil, uncovered, without stirring, for 10 minutes, until the mixture turns a light golden colour.
- Remove from the heat and use a wooden spoon to stir in the brown sugar. Stir in the cream until well combined. Return to medium heat and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes until smooth. Put aside to cool down while you make the puddings, giving the occasional stir to make sure it doesn’t split.
- On to the puddings: Remove the crusts from the bread and flatten with a rolling pin. Brush one side of the bread slices with butter and cut into quarters to give four squares. Arrange four of the squares in the base of each dish, overlapping to fit, and sprinkle with the combined chocolate and sugar. Repeat with the remaining bread to give two layers.
- Place the egg, milk and cream in a jug and mix together. Pour the mixture over the bread and sprinkle a little cinnamon on the top. Place on a baking tray and bake for 20–25 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Sprinkle with grated chocolate, then pour over the caramel sauce and serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for each.
This recipe makes four puddings, but enough caramel sauce for plenty to top and keep in your fridge for another time!
Keywords: bread and butter pudding, caramel