Bread and 'Butter 'Pudding Tart

You can vary the amounts and types of fruit and add more alcohol if you wish. It is such an easy and unusual tart and is more flexible than straight bread and butter pudding. Whatever its nutritional value, it is a comforting tart and good for the psychological health of all who eat it. The secret is not to cook it too long, so that you have a wonderfully gooey centre with a crunchy golden top.


serves 4 - 6
175 g (6 oz) rich sweet shortcrust pastry
85 g (3 oz) currants
85 g (3 oz) sultanas
115 g (4 oz) fresh breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
425 ml (3/4 pint) double cream
1 strip of pared lemon rind
85 g (3 oz) caster sugar
85 g (3 oz) butter, softened
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 tablespoons brandy (rum, marsala or sweet sherry, if no brandy)
1 tablespoon demerara sugar
a few pieces of bread crust (optional)
a few small knobs of butter


1. Line a deep 23 cm (9 in) tart tin with the pastry and pre-bake or bake blind. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C (375°F) Gas 5.

2. Plump up the currants and sultanas by immersing them in boiling water in a bowl for 2-3 minutes, then drain and mix with the breadcrumbs and half the nutmeg. Set aside.

3. Heat the cream in a pan with the strip of lemon rind until the cream is just below boiling point. Remove the pan from the heat, then remove and discard the lemon rind, add the breadcrumb mixture and mix well. Set aside.

4. Put the caster sugar and butter into a large bowl and beat with an electric whisk for 2 minutes or so, until pale and shiny.
Add the eggs, vanilla essence and brandy and whisk until it is all absorbed. Add the breadcrumb mixture and give it all a good stir, by which time it should be looking firm.

5. Spoon it into the pre-baked pastry case and sprinkle the top with the demerara sugar and nutmeg. If you wish to add interest to the texture, press a few small strips of bread crust into the top so that they are just showing. Dot with butter and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the surface is golden brown and the crusts are just beginning to turn dark brown.

Serve warm or cold with custard or cream and a glass of brandy or marsala.

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