Life is a funny old thing, isn’t it? Sometimes things just go to pot, but that also sometimes turns into an opportunity. And in this case, that opportunity was a Kahlua bread and butter pudding.
I was very ambitious the other day and tried to bake a bread recipe with a flour I’d never used before. Not necessarily note-worthy, but I thought it would be fun to put the photos on Instagram as I went along [side note: you can follow me on Instagram here]. So then when it all went a bit pear-shaped – or rather, fell totally flat – I felt I had to be honest about it. Turns out I’m not perfect after all, who would have guessed it?
I’ve long been of the opinion that admitting that things don’t always go to plan in my kitchen is a healthy thing. We all mess up from time to time, right? And so long as we learn from our mistakes then it doesn’t matter. I understand why a lot of people are cagey about admitting if something’s gone wrong – and that’s OK – but for me, I think it’s important.
My name is Craig, and it turns out I’m human. And my rye bread really didn’t work.
But of course, there is many a cliché motivational poster about when doors close, windows open. And I think that’s really the story for today.
My plans for the weekend were numerous, but I also wanted to bake. I worked it out so I could fit in some bread. Mix it whilst going through my morning caffeinating routine, let it rest whilst having a shower, kneed in a spare moment, let it rise whilst I went into town. It was foolproof. Except it wasn’t. I preheated the oven – with my baking tray I was going to bake on in to heat up – and had prepared everything. There was even 45 minutes spare for it to bake before I needed to bake dinner. Then I opened the oven door and was engulfed in a cloud of smoke. Then the smoke alarm when off.
Once the flat was once again without the piercing tones of the alarm and the kitchen devoid of smoke I took stock and realised that the day’s baking was over. Oven cleaning a little later revealed two plastic-capped screws were what had caused all the smoke. No one knows how they got there. But even with some plans falling through in the evening, I opted not to bake and have oven cleaner-scented bread.
And so to my mistakes (yeah, not got there yet…). I didn’t cover the dough properly. I didn’t move it into a container that would maintain its shape. I didn’t re-flour the tray before baking. I didn’t do anything sensible. And as a result when it was baked on Sunday afternoon – some 30 hours after the dough was made – it came out as flat as a pancake and the baking paper was well attached to the bottom. It was only good for one thing – the bin.
This made me sad though – because if you ripped a bit out of the middle it actually tasted pretty damn good. After my flatmate’s somewhat sarcastic responses to my creation’s appearance, we were chatting about it – I’m not a fan of wasting food unless it really is inedible. And so was borne the idea of making it into bread and butter pudding. After all, it was about the thickness of a slice of bread.
What would go with rye and raisin though? We thought about a coffee-flavoured custard. And then I went off in search of my bottle of Kahlua. Because Kahlua makes everything better.
So, lessons have been learnt: if you have to quickly close the door on a smoke-filled oven, open a window; and if you are too dim to look after your dough and it goes wrong, make it into bread and butter pudding. Oh, and that Kahlua bread and butter pudding makes everything better.
This recipe had pretty inauspicious beginnings but was made up pretty much as I went along and so is an original to The Usual Saucepans. You can scale up or down the recipe as needed – this one makes for three and fits pretty much perfectly into a small loaf tin. If you really want to mix it up, use an interesting kind of bread – like the rye and raisin used here – or go all out and use something like hot cross buns.
- 300g bread (about 5 slices)
- 2 eggs
- 100ml double cream
- 50ml milk
- 50ml Kahlua (optional)
- 25g sultanas (if not already in bread)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Take your bread and remove any crusts it may have and then cut into rectangles (about 8×3 cm) and put a tight layer of these over the bottom of your dish – if you’re adding sultanas or other fruit now’s the time to put a layer of them across. Next make the custard-like part of your pudding. Crack your eggs into a jug and beat them a little, then add in your cream, milk, vanillia and a very generous slosh of Kahlua. Whisk it together and all will be well with the world.
Pour enough over the layer of bread to just cover it and leave to sink in for a minute, then add another layer of bread followed by fruit and more of the liquid. Continue doing this until you either have no liquid left or there is no room in your dish. Leave in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Cook in the oven at 150ºC for 30-35 minutes (until firm and golden brown on top), then serve with a little more