Tomorrow is our annual pilgrimage to Center Parcs at Sherwood Forest, where our group of nine will do sporty things all day and then enjoy a meal and a slide show in the chalet. This is one event we don’t get involved in organising – it’s all down to Rob and Lyn – well done and long may your travails continue, R&L!
They even organise the food, and I have volunteered a dessert to follow lamb and apricot hotpot, so I spent an hour this morning preparing this pudding, which needs no further attention until the oven tomorrow night. It’s easy and delicious. Here’s how, for 9 people, but it can just as easily be made for any number of folk. (Excellent for two, actually.)
Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding
14 slices of 5mm thick good quality white bread, one day old, from a large loaf
225 gm dark chocolate with 75% cocoa solids, chopped
600 ml whipping cream
6 tablespoons dark rum
165 gm caster sugar
120 gm butter
¼ tsp cinnamon
5 small eggs
Well chilled double cream
Ovenproof dish, lightly buttered, approx 15x30 cm base x 5 cm deep (smaller for reduced quantities)
Remove the crusts (whizz them into breadcrumbs for future use) to give roughly 10 cm squares. Cut each one into 4 triangles.
Place the chocolate, whipping cream, rum, sugar, butter and cinnamon in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Don’t let the bowl touch the water (or allow granny to suck the eggs)! Wait for all the ingredients to melt and for the sugar to dissolve. Then remove the bowl from the heat and give it a good stir to amalgamate the ingredients.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and then pour the chocolate mixture over them and whisk again very thoroughly.
Spoon a 1 cm layer of the mixture into the base of the dish and arrange half the bread triangles over the chocolate in overlapping rows. Then pour half the remaining mixture over the bread as evenly as possible and arrange the rest of the triangles over that, finishing off with the rest of the chocolate. Press the bread down gently so that it gets covered evenly with the liquid.
(At this stage it looks like the above picture.)
Cover with clingfilm and allow to stand at room temperature for two hours. Transfer to refrigerator for a minimum of 24 (but preferably 48) hours before cooking.
Preheat oven to 180C. Remove the clingfilm and bake on a high shelf for 30-35 minutes. The top will be crunchy and the inside soft and squidgy. Leave to stand for 10 min before serving with chilled double cream.
[Adapted from the recipe in Delia Smith’s Winter Collection]