Old English Bread Pudding

Mary Bent, circa 1670

I adore everything about this recipe. For a start, it epitomises the very British traits of not only being a hot pudding, but also having been created from almost nothing. The ingredients are modest, the flavouring minimal, yet these simple, little puddings are a real delight. Even more so when you realise that these were already being looked upon with nostalgic fondness when Mary Bent recorded this recipe in the middle of the seventeenth century. Where modern bread puddings tend towards the solid and the fruited, this 350 year old recipe is light and delicate as a souffle.

Original Recipe
Source: MS1127, Wellcome Library Collection

Old English Bread Pudding

125g fresh breadcrumbs
300ml milk
2 large yolks
1 large egg
2tbs caster sugar
1/4tsp salt
freshly grated nutmeg

  • Warm the milk until just below boiling then pour over the breadcrumbs and allow to soak for 15 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas 3.
  • Whisk the egg and yolks and pour into the breadcrumb mixture. Add the sugar, salt and grate the nutmeg.
  • Stir everything together until a smooth mixture.
  • Generously butter four pudding basins and pour the breadcrumb mixture evenly amongst them.
  • Arrange the basins on a lipped baking sheet.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, turning the baking sheet around after 20 minutes to ensure even browning.
  • When cooked, allow the puddings to rest for a couple of minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pudding bowls and turn out.
  • Serve with a few fresh berries and whipped cream or Hard Sauce .



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