My mum has a folder stuffed full of my Grandma's old recipes containing, among other things, hand written notes, articles neatly clipped from newpapers and those booklets which came free with 1950s electric ovens. I was looking through it recently and came across this one for Spiced Bread Pudding, something I remember my Grandma baking for us as a child, something I loved to eat. I get a thrill out of finding old recipes - especially if they come with some kind of history or memory - as I think that the ones which have been kept and passed on tend to both taste good and work.
This piece of paper makes me smile and think of Grandma straight away. It smells of her house. It's covered in cooking splatters. It was obviously a favourite recipe, as she took the time to type it out, and the typed print feels as warm and familiar to me as her own handwriting.
Can you see the watermark? Can you even buy watermarked paper, or Queen's Velvet paper, these days I wonder?
I baked it recently and was over the moon to find that it worked, and that it tastes excatly as I remember it. It's moist, sweet, nutmeggy and very delicious. This is not a pudding really but a tray bake kind of cake, and bears little resemblance to Bread and Butter Pudding (the kind where you butter the bread and then bake it in a custard in the oven which I don't really like if I'm honest, it's too eggy and bland.) This is more like a dense, sweet fruit cake. I've typed out the recipe here, tweaking it. I like it with more spices than Grandma did, I think all that bread needs the flavour, and sultanas are always my dried fruit of choice as they're so plump and sweet.
8 oz or 230 grams stale brown bread, say 5 or 6 slices.
¾ pint or 425 ml milk.
2 oz or 60 grams butter.
2 oz or 60 grams brown sugar.
5 oz sultanas, currants or any kind of mixed dried fruit.
1½ tsp cinnamon
1½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
Sugar for sprinkling.
Preheat the oven to 180°C or 350°F and grease your tin. Mine was 7" x 10" and I didn't need to line it.
Cut the bread into 1 cm cubes and put in a large bowl.
In a saucepan, bring to a boil the milk, butter and sugar, then pour over the bread.
Add the dried fruit and spices and mix well. It should look like a thick, lumpy cake batter by now.