Bread and butter are two of the staple foods of Britain but they can be turned into delicious winter dishes. The traditional Bread and Butter Pudding has long been a nursery favourite but its origins lie long in the past and the puddings were once known as 'whitepot' in Devon and South West England. In Elizabethan times bone marrow was used as an ingredient and I have a savoury recipe for you to try (minus the bone marrow!).
Savoury Bread and Butter Pudding
4 large slices of wholemeal or white bread
125g grated cheddar cheese
1 small onion, grated
2 beaten eggs
salt and pepper
pinch of dry mustard powder
Butter the bread and spread lightly with yeast extract. Cut into small cubes. Grease an oven proof dish and spread half of the bread cubes on the bottom (buttered side up). Cover these with half of the cheese and then onion. Add the rest of the bread cubes and finally the rest of the cheese. Add the milk and seasoning to the beaten eggs and strain this over the pudding. Bake in a moderate oven (Gas 4, 180ºC) for 35 – 40 minutes.
There are a few variations on this recipe – you can add bacon, chanterelle mushrooms, leeks. pancetta or spinach and change the cheese to Gruyere (excellent with chanterelle mushrooms) or Blue Cheese (good with pancetta).
Christmas Bread and Butter Pudding
I usually make my Bread and Butter Puddings with slices of stale white bread spread with butter, marmalade with a splash of whiskey for good measure but there is a lovely recipe for Christmas Bread and Butter Pudding that uses Panettone (which is great for using it up if you have some left over!).
50g butter, softened (optional)
250g panettone (about 5 medium slices)
142ml carton double cream
Couple of splashes of vanilla essence
pinch of grated nutmeg
2 tbsp caster sugar
Butter the slices of panettone and cut into wedges. Grease an oven proof dish and spread the panettone wedges in the dish (buttered side up). Whisk the eggs, cream, milk, vanilla essence, grated nutmeg and sugar together in a bowl and pour over the panettone. Bake in a moderate oven (Gas 4, 180ºC) for 35 – 40 minutes.
If you wish you can also add left over mincemeat from making mince pies (or even left over Christmas Pudding) or cranberries.
There are a number of Bordeaux white wines that marry well with cheese but Chateau Ballan Larquette Bordeaux Blanc is made with 50% Semillon and 50% Sauvignon Blanc grapes and pairs beautifully with cheese – from salty feta to tangy roquefort. A good Sauternes such as Chateau Sainte Helene 2004 would pair very well with your Christmas Bread and Butter Pudding – it has gorgeous notes of orange peel and cinnamon that will complement the dish.