Wasting food is something which I try to avoid doing as much as possible and as a result, lots of the food I eat is made up of odds and ends lying around. Bread and butter pudding is a perfect example of this – it’s a very good way of using up the remains of a loaf of bread that’s starting to go stale. It’s also very easy to personalise as you can swap flavours in and out incredibly easily.
Traditionally, bread and butter pudding was made without the orange and chocolate I use in this recipe. Instead, the bread was buttered before being put in the tin and was then sprinkled with large quantities of raisins (which were often soaked in booze). The custard was also flavoured with nutmeg and vanilla along with other spices. Bread and butter pudding is the modern version of a dish known as whitepot which dates back from the 1500s. This was made with bone marrow instead of butter and sometimes the bread would be substituted out for rice which is what gave rise to rice pudding. This diverged from bread and butter pudding back in the early 1600s when recipe books started listing whitepot and rice pudding as different desserts. The first written recipe for bread and butter pudding didn’t appear until almost 100 years later!
Bread and butter pudding should not be confused with bread pudding although the two do have many similarities. They are both ways of using up stale bread and also both contain cream, eggs and dried fruit. Bread pudding starts to differ as instead of layering up the bread and pouring custard over it, small lumps of bread are mashed into the custard mix before adding brown sugar, lots of spices,dried fruit and peel. This gives rise to a much more homogeneous dessert which is denser than bread and butter pudding would be.
One of the best things about this dessert is its versatility. I have made it on several occasions for people who are lactose free and you can simply replace the cream and milk with dairy free alternatives (of course you also have to check that the chocolate spread doesn’t contain milk either)! If you don’t like chocolate and orange, you can just replace them with other flavours for example, swap the marmalade for strawberry jam and sprinkle fresh strawberries between the layers instead of chocolate. If you feel like splashing out, this can also be made with brioche or croissants instead of plain bread for a super rich, buttery dessert.
Chocolate and Orange Bread and Butter Pudding
Prep time: 20 mins – Rest time: 10 mins – Cooking time – 45 mins
1 large loaf thinly sliced white bread – crusts removed
Dark chocolate spread
150g dark chocolate chips (or finely chopped dark chocolate)
1 pint full fat milk
150ml double cream
150g sugar + more for sprinkling
Optional – orange zest
Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 (1900C).
Butter a large baking dish.
Cut the bread along the diagonal to get large triangles.
Spread a generous portion of marmalade onto some of the triangles – however many it takes to cover the bottom of the dish.
Sprinkle over a couple of tablespoons of chocolate.
Add another layer of bread, this time with the chocolate spread.
Sprinkle over some more of the chocolate.
Repeat the above steps until the tin is full remembering to place the top layer in spread side down – do not overfill it as the pudding will over flow in the oven. Try to avoid squishing the bread down too much as the air pockets around will all be filled with the custard.
Put the eggs, milk, cream, sugar and orange zest into a jug and whisk them together.
Pour this over the bread slowly making sure none of the bread on the top is left dry! Try to leave a little room at the top of the tin as the pudding will puff up when baking.
Sprinkle over a small amount of sugar which will caramelise on the top.
Leave to sit for 10 minutes so the custard can soak into the bread – you can add more if it is all absorbed!
Bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is golden brown and the pudding is puffed up – check it at halfway through and if the pudding is browning too fast, cover the top with some silver foil and return it to the oven.
This can be eaten warm of cold and heats up wonderfully in the microwave. Serve with cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce.
Let me know if you try this at home as I love to see what you guys cook! Drop me a tag on Instagram @thatcookingthing. If you are looking for a warming savoury dish to precede this in a meal, look no further than my delicious mushroom risotto or if you fancy having a go at baking some other sweet treats, why not try your hand at my millionaire’s shortbread? Its bound to impress your friends!
Have a good one and see you next week with a recipe for a lovely salmon dinner!
Success in the kitchen. One of the things that you learn very quickly when you have a blog or Instagram is the importance of aesthetics. There are many things I bake which are never mentioned outside my house as they look terrible, didn’t look right or even just tasted plain disgusting. You don’t get anywhere without a decent amount of trial and error.
Of course, over time you learn different food combinations and what works or what doesn’t, but this often comes from making a dish that you regret ever thinking of the moment the first bite touches your lips. While this becomes less common, I do still occasionally make food, get halfway through it and decide it just isn’t palatable. Things like this are never mentioned again and kept secret for fear of people realising that like them, you are just another mere mortal in the kitchen. One thing that they do find out about is when food goes wrong. I have been reduced to tears over something I have made several times.
Once was because I managed to get boiling sugar on my hand which is not a pleasant experience and should be avoided at all costs. Another was because a cake I made stuck in its tin. The cake had multiple layers which needed to set which would have been fine if they hadn’t then stuck to the tin and flowed into the lip at the base rendering the cake almost impossible to remove. In the end, two of my friends managed to help me get the cake out using four knives and fish slice. I learnt a valuable lesson that day. Anything can be covered by a good layer of icing. The battle armour on the cake made it almost impossible to know of the horror that was the outside of the cake where all the layers has mixed into a mess – the cake still tasted fine in the end.
The first time I made millionaire’s shortbread, I messed up. I had no idea what I was doing and tried to boil a tin of condensed milk poured into a pan. Unsurprisingly, it did not set. It was a long time before I tried again and in that interim, I learnt how to make caramel properly which very much helped. My other main kitchen disaster was my first attempt at Macarons. They flowed over the tin in the over and set rock solid through the baking parchment onto the metal below. To this day, I have no idea what happened to them or where I went wrong but it took two days of soaking to remove them and make the tray useable again. Things go wrong and you learn. Many recipes you find have been tried and tweaked and tried and tweaked until the person making it is fully happy with the result. Even then, you will still plan as you get to know how the food cooks and will make minor changes to suite the oven or the temperature outside or even a new tin!
Success in the kitchen comes with time but following written recipes always helps to reduce how long it takes to understand what is going on. I hope that this recipe will stop anyone having the issues I had with making millionaire’s shortbread and will serve you well!
This recipe makes about 15-20 shortbreads if you cut them relatively large or over 30 if you cut them small.
Prep time: 45 minutes – Cook time: 15 minutes
250g plain flour
75g caster sugar
Caramel (this gives a very thick layer of caramel. You can half this for a thinner layer):
300g brown sugar
2 tins condensed milk
300g chocolate (I used 200g dark and 100g milk)
Optional – White chocolate to decorate
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 (1800C)
Line an 11-inch x 11-inch tin with baking parchment – or a tin/tins of equivalent size. If you have a one-piece tin, make sure to line the base and the sides. If your tin has removable sides you only need to line the base.
Rub the butter into the flour – once it looks like breadcrumbs, keep rubbing it in and the mix will start to come together.
Once the butter and flour mix start coming together, add the sugar and stir through with a fork to make sure it is evenly distributed.
Pour the mixture into the tin and spread it out evenly. Compact it down and bake for 15-17 minutes turning the shortbread halfway through the cooking
Remove from the oven and let cool in the tin.
To make the caramel, melt the sugar and butter in a large heavy based pan.
Once the sugar has dissolved or the mixture has started to bubble, add the condensed milk.
Stir together over a high heat and bring the mixture to the boil stirring constantly.
Cook for a couple of minutes until the caramel has started to thicken.
Remove from the heat and pour onto the shortbread.
Leave to set in the fridge for an hour
Melt the chocolate and pour over the shortbread.
Lightly tap the tin on a table to smooth out the chocolate.
If you want to decorate this, use a fork to scatter lines of white chocolate on top of the dark and then use the tip of a knife or a skewer and swirl it through the chocolate to get a professional finish.
Leave in the fridge to semi set (so the chocolate isn’t hard but also will hold its shape when cut)
Remove the shortbread from the tin. Mine has removable sides so I didn’t line them along with the base. If you do this, use a hot knife to release the caramel and chocolate from the sides of the tin.
Cut the shortbread into pieces and place into the fridge to fully set – if the chocolate is a bit hard and the caramel is oozing out when you cut it, fill a tin with boiling water and heat the knife in it before each cut. Make sure to not push down too hard and just let the knife melt through the chocolate!
I hope you enjoy making it. Let me know how it turns out for you and give me a tag on Instagram @thatcookingthing if you have a go yourself! If you liked this, why not check out my last baking recipe which also has a decent chocolate layer – my boozy tiramisu or if you are in the mood for something a little more savoury, my beef lasagne is perfect to keep you warm as winter approaches.
Have a good one and I’ll see you next week with a recipe for some delicious risotto – including how to tweak it for different dietary requirements. It truly is versatile!
Let’s talk about birthdays. I love birthdays – not just my own! I always find it incredibly stressful buying presents, especially at university. It’s really easy to get presents for your good friends as you know them but if you don’t know the person as well, what do you do? I have found that baking someone a personalised birthday cake just for them is a perfect replacement as it shows you are willing to put in a lot of effort for the person and you can tailor the cake to that persons tastes. The chocolate and orange cake in this recipe is a perfect example of this. I first made this cake during exam season last year during a large gap between exams when I was stress baking. I ended up giving most of it away as not only do I stress bake but my appetite goes down so I don’t want to eat what I make! One of my friends has just turned 22 and I ended up remaking it as his birthday cake as he really liked it last time.
This cake is wonderful as the syrup keeps it nice and moist and can give a bit of a kick if that’s what you want. It is also super adaptable as you don’t have to add the ganache which does make the whole cake a little easier to make or alternatively, you can cover the entire cake in the ganache for a beautiful shiny finish. You can also just not include the chocolate for a lovely orange cake which you can decorate with candied peel and piping work.
I like to make my own decorations for cakes which can be themed to the event the cake is for. For the cake in this recipe, I made mini orange meringues. This was more to test out the new Aga than to use meringues as decorations but luckily, they worked really well so I was able to use them on the cake. The other decoration (the chocolate nest) was made by piping tempered chocolate into a glass of Bacardi which had been in the freezer for a few hours. This meant that the chocolate set immediately into beautiful winding 3D shapes which I could then place on the cake.
The recipe below doesn’t include the decorations however I will do a post about different types of decorations in the next few weeks.
For the Cake:
280g (10 oz.) Butter
280g (10 oz.)Sugar
280g (10 oz.) Plain Flour
5 tsp baking powder
Rind of 1 Orange
1 tsp Orange Extract
For the Syrup:
Juice of one orange
50 g sugar
¼ cup water
Triple sec/Cointreau (optional)
For the Icing:
375g Icing sugar (sifted)
150g Dark Chocolate
2 tbsp Cocoa
1 tsp Orange Extract
For the Ganache
150g Dark Chocolate
150ml Double Cream
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 (1800C) and line three 8 inch baking trays.
Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the grated orange rind and the orange extract and beat again.
Add the eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of flour for each egg beating after each addition.
Pour in the rest of the flour and beat until just combined.
Pour into the baking tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
While the cakes are cooling, you can make the syrup and the icing.
For the syrup, combine all the ingredients – excluding the alcohol – in a pan.
Bring to a boil making sure that all the sugar has dissolved and then remove the pan from the heat and leave the syrup to cool. Then add the triple sec.
For the icing, beat the butter until it is light and fluffy.
Add the sifted icing sugar a bit a time and beat until the icing is smooth and glossy.
Add the orange extract and cocoa and beat again.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave remembering to stir every 20 seconds to prevent it burning!
Pour the chocolate in and beat again. Do not do this with the beaters running as they will just knock the chocolate onto the sides of the bowl which is not particularly useful…
To assemble the cake, attach the first layer to the cake board or plate with a tiny amount of icing.
Brush a layer of syrup onto the top of the cake to keep it moist and then add a layer of buttercream
Repeat with the next two layers adding them upside down to give a smooth top to the cake.
Cover the entire cake in a thinnish layer of buttercream – there should be just enough left to do this without the cake peeking through too much!
Place the cake in the fridge for a few hours to firm up the buttercream before adding the ganache
For a raindrop look, heat up the cream in a pan and add to the dark chocolate in a bowl.
Leave for at least two minutes for the chocolate to melt and then stir until combined.
When the ganache is at room temperature, pour it into the centre of the cake and spread it evenly over the top of the cake.
Using a spoon or a piping bag, pour some extra ganache over the edges of the cake and let it run down the side.
To coat the cake completely in ganache, double the quantities in the recipe.
Decorate the cake with chocolate and orange decorations.
Let me know if you try this at yourselves and pop a photo across or tag me on Instagram at thatcookingthing! I love seeing what you guys create at home.
As promised last week, I return with the most amazing chocolate tart you will ever make. It contains not one, not two but four types of chocolate and a hidden layer of caramel. To be honest, this tart should probably come with a myriad of health warnings and possibly an ambulance on speed dial but it is 100% worth it!
I love making caramel. It can be a little bit daunting the first time and you do need to be careful as the melted sugar is very hot however homemade caramel is just so superior to shop bought that in my opinion, it is very much worth a little extra time making the filling instead of buying it. WARNING – melted sugar will burn instantly. If you do get any on you, immediately stop what you are doing (the tart can wait –you can not) and hold the area under cold water for at least 5 minutes if not more. It will hurt but isn’t too serious.
You have a couple of options when it comes to melting sugar for caramels or decorations. The slower but more controlled method which I use if I need a specific temperature of sugar or don’t want a deep golden caramel involves melting the sugar with a small amount of water and then boiling the sugar syrup until it achieved the desired temperature. This is particularly useful for making a large batch of caramel for things like a croquembouche. The other method, the one used in this recipe, involved holding your nerve a bit and directly melting the sugar in a pan. I am unashamed to admit that it took me about 5 years to become confident enough in my culinary skills to attempt this method instead of the syrup one.
Caramel is produced when you drive water away from sugar by heating it. If making large amounts, you will quite often add glucose syrup or a small amount of vinegar as it helps invert the sugar preventing crystallisation which will ruin your dish. This is where the caramel will suddenly turn solid and brittle again and no amount of heating can save it. You just have to start again! To prevent crystallisation, you should never stir the boiling sugar syrup once the sugar has all dissolved in the water and if making it via the more direct approach, treat the sugar incredibly carefully as it is a real diva in the kitchen. Inverting sugar is not always necessary as you can buy Invert Sugar Syrup in some areas however you don’t need it for this recipe! It occurs as glucose and fructose are isomers (they have the same chemical composition, just in a different formation. Think of them as anagrams of each other). The colour of the caramel comes in part from the long chain carbohydrates contained (24, 36 and 80 carbon atoms long!) and also from by products produced when the sugar is heated.
This tart is particularly good at a dinner party. Wow your guests with a delicious homemade dessert which looks like you’ve just picked it up from a professional patisserie. Serving it with fresh fruit like strawberries can give it some semblance of health even though we all know it’s only for show! You can also use this recipe to make mini tartlets which is what I do if I have enough excess pastry
Quadruple Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart
Preparation:1 hour 10 minutes
160g plain flour
75g unsalted butter
1 Large egg yolk
½ tsp vanilla
225g caster sugar
100ml double cream
125g salted butter
300g dark chocolate
200g milk chocolate
100g white chocolate
50g unsalted butter
½ tsp vanilla
For the pastry, place the flour, sugar, cocoa and butter into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it appears as fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively, rub the butter into the flour and stir in the other dry ingredients.
Make a well in the centre and add the vanilla and the egg yolk.
Mix until just combined, pour onto a worktop and knead until a homogenous dough is formed but do not overwork the dough!
Put the dough into the fridge to rest for an hour.
Preheat your oven to gas mark 5 (190oC).
Roll out the dough and line a 9 or 10 inch tart pan preferably, one that has a removable base – you may have to wait a few minutes for the dough to soften up.
Trim the excess dough leaving a little hanging off round the edge – this is so that if the dough shrinks, the excess dough will make sure the tart doesn’t lose height. Alternatively, you can trim all the excess dough off and then place the lined case in the freezer for another half hour to make it really firm which should prevent shrinking altogether.
Prick the bottom of the pastry case with a fork so it doesn’t crack, line it with foil and pour in baking beads (or rice/pasta/lentils if you don’t have them) – this prevents the case from bubbling up and keeps the base nice and flat.
Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the baking beads and bake for another 10 minutes so the pastry case if fully cooked.
If you still have bits of pastry overhanging the tin, use a sharp knife to trim off the edges and neaten it up.
To make the caramel, place a third of the sugar in a heavy based steel pan – non-stick pans encourage crystallisation which ruins caramel.
Heat the sugar on a medium heat and as it starts to melt, use a wooden spoon to gently move some of the unmelted sugar into the melted areas. Move the pan on the hob so no area gets too dark when melting. You don’t want to burn the sugar. Turn the pan onto a medium to low light for the rest of this.
Once about half of the sugar in the pan has melted, sprinkle on half the remaining sugar and gently stir the melted areas. The sugar may start to clump but don’t worry!
As more of the sugar melts, sprinkle on the remaining sugar and continue to agitate the melted areas in the pan to prevent burning and to bring the unmelted sugar into contact with the heat.
Once the sugar has all melted, you should have a light caramel. If it is cloudy, that means not all the sugar has melted! Swirl the sugar in the pan a little to help stir it but at this point, do not use the spoon as it will make the sugar crystallise.
When the caramel is clear, continue heating slowly until it is a deep golden colour. Swirling it gently will help mixing it in the pan so it doesn’t burn.
The moment the caramel is a rich golden brown, remove it from the heat and immediately pour in the double cream. BE CAREFUL – the cream will bubble and steam vigorously so make sure you are using a big pan so it doesn’t spit out of the pan. Stir the caramel to make sure it is all mixed. The area with the cream may be thicker than the melted sugar as it is cooled a little but it will remelt and everything will mix together nicely.
Let the caramel cool for a couple of minutes and then add in the butter chopped into cubes or slices.
Stir in the butter as it melts and once it has all melted and mixed together, pour it into the pastry case – you don’t need to wait for it to cool!
N.B – if you are unlucky, the caramel may split when you add the butter and you will end up with an oily layer on top. If this happens, let the caramel sit for a few minutes to separate out and then spoon off the oil that appears at the top.
Chop your chocolates and place in bowls – make sure the dark chocolate is in a large bowl as the others will be added at a later point!
Add 30g of butter to the dark chocolate, 20g to the milk chocolate and half a teaspoon of vanilla to the white chocolate.
Heat the cream until it’ just about to boil and then add 275ml to the dark chocolate, 150ml to the milk chocolate and 75ml to the white.
Let the chocolate stand in the cream for 2 minutes and then stir each bowl until it is filled with a smooth chocolate ganache.
Take a little of the dark chocolate ganache and put it off to the side – this is for decorating later.
Pour the milk and white chocolate ganaches into the dark chocolate making sure not to scrape the bowl out as the leftovers in the bowls are used for decorating.
Use a skewer to mix the ganaches – BUT ONLY A LITTLE – you want the variation in ganaches inside the tart.
Pour the filling into the tart filling it but not quite to bursting!
Use the leftover dark, milk, and white chocolate ganaches to spoon blobs and lines over the top of the tart.
Use a skewer to swirl the chocolate filling to give a beautiful and professional finish – don’t catch the caramel layer when doing this!
Let the tart set in the fridge for a couple of hours or even overnight to fully harden up.
When serving, place your knife in a jug of hot water and then wipe it off on a tea towel before cutting. This helps make the cuts incredibly clean and prevents the filling sticking to the knife too much.
Serve with a little cream and a selection of berries.
This is one of my favourite desserts and I hope it will be one of yours too! As an added bonus, this tart also freezes really well – assuming you have any left!
Let me know if you try this at yourselves and give me a tag on instagram (@thatcookingthing)! I love seeing what you guys create at home.
See here for the last recipe from my Baking series – the gooeyest chocolate brownies you can find or here if you fancy making a delicious dinner of homemade pizza!
Have a good one and I’ll see you next week with an exciting recipe for spiced turkey burgers. Fab for using up odds and ends and wonderful as a filling for other dishes too!
I love chocolate brownies. They are some of the most amazing things to have been created in the kitchen however they still cause dispute between people who make them. Should they be cakey? Should they be fudgy? Personally, I fall very strongly on the fudgy side of the argument. If I wanted something chocolatey with a cake like texture, I would make a chocolate cake, not a chocolate brownie! These brownies are about as fudgy as you can get. You need to watch out though as with such a high butter and chocolate content, they are liable to soften up in the heat if you make them in summer and whilst not an issue if you are at home, this can cause problems if you are taking them on a picnic! Try adding an extra minute or two to the cooking time if you know they brownies will be in the heat for an extended time before you eat them as they will stay fudgy but won’t melt everywhere which from experience, is incredibly messy (but really, really yummy)!
The fudgy chocolate brownie is generally accepted to be a descendent of the Bangor Brownie. This came about after the creation of brownies in the late 1890s and in the 1900s, the Bangor Brownie with its fudgy, dense texture was created. It differed from the original brownies by adding extra chocolate and eggs to the mixture. The recipe I am using today is a take on the Nigella Lawson recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess – a book I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who enjoys baking. Unlike Nigella, I do not put walnuts into the brownies and have been known to add chocolate chips to them.
They are very simple to make too requiring minimal experience and always go down well. Not only that but you don’t have to eat them just as brownies. If you are hosting a dinner party or having friends over, chocolate brownies make a wonderful base for a dessert or can be warmed up and served with ice cream. Baking times really do vary dramatically by oven so making something like brownies a couple of times is a good way to get to know your oven and also leaves some rather nice leftovers.
If you are feeling adventurous, why not try adding a swirl of caramel or peanut butter (thinned down with a little milk and sugar to make it smooth) into your batter in the tins to make the brownies a little more exciting? You could also add small pieces of fudge, candied orange peel, chopped nuts or a tiny amount of coffee to add to the flavour and texture.
Prep time 25 minutes, cook time 25 minutes
375g dark chocolate
375g unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
225g plain flour
100g white chocolate roughly chopped (or chips)
100g dark chocolate roughly chopped (or chips)
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 (180oC)
Line two eight inch square pans with baking parchment
Place the butter and dark chocolate into a large, thick based pan together and heat on a low light until it has all melted and combined. Keep stirring to prevent the chocolate from burning. I have also found that putting the butter into the pan first helps prevent the chocolate from catching.
Measure out the sugar and the eggs into a jug
Add the vanilla to them and beat until they have all come together
Once the butter and chocolate have melted together, remove from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool for a minute if it feels hot to prevent the egg from curdling when it is added.
When the chocolate mixture is slightly warm, slowly pour in the eggs and sugar whilst stirring to combine it all together – depending on the temperature of the chocolate at this point, the combined mixture may thicken slightly as the egg is added
Once all the other ingredients are combined, slowly stir through the flour in two or three batches making sure that there are no clumps left over. I tend to do this with the balloon whisk that I use for beating the eggs and sugar earlier
Add in the chocolate chips and stir through and immediately divide the mixture between the baking pans to make sure the chips don’t melt into the rest of the batter
Bake for about 23/24 minutes or until the surface looks cracked and there is a slight wobble. The brownies will still cook a little after they are removed from the oven but make sure they are not raw in the middle!
Once the brownies are cool place them in the fridge to firm up before cutting as they can be really fudgy if they aren’t quite cooked enough for the flour to set.
Let me know how these went for you in the comments – I love seeing what you guys have been making at home! See here for last week’s Cooking from Basics recipe for Chicken and Mushroom Pasta Bake and here for the last recipe in the Baking section, Artisan Loaves.