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Memories Are Made Of This (part 4) - Tamasin's Brioche and Butter Pudding with Strawberry Jam

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“I’ll always love the nursery puddings of my childhood”

The sweet treats she ate at her grandparents’ farm taught food writer Tamasin Day-Lewis the comforting power of a good old-fashioned pud.

My love of good food began when I was really young. My grandparents lived on a farm in Sussex with an enormous kitchen garden. They grew everything from tomatoes to strawberries, and I’d be allowed to eat them stright from the plant. Best of all, though, were the puddings we had there – chocolate sponge with almonds stuck in it to make it look like a hedgehog, treacle tart and bread and butter pudding with a great big blob of clotted cream on top.

It was a stark contrast to boarding school, where the bread and butter pudding was watery and curdled and made with slimy Mighty White bread. It makes me feel sick just thinking about it. Food at university wasn’t much better, and that’s when I decided I needed to learn to cook. So I bought the whole works of Elizabeth David and Jane Grigson and set about teaching myself. Soon I was cooking for the whole of my staircase – about eight of us. I didn’t cook those nursery puddings of my childhood, though, until I had my three children, Miranda, Harry and Charissa.

Every Saturday afternoon when they were tiny I’d string them up in their bouncers and dance to Jazz Record Requests on the radio as I cooked. A favourite of theirs was bread and butter ‘pudding with brioche and jam – it’s divine. When Miranda was about nine she made it for my brother Daniel one Sunday when he came for lunch. A few days later he sent her a postcard saying: ‘Just as good as your mother’s.’ She was delighted!

Tamasin’s Brioche and Butter Pudding with Strawberry Jam

Description: Tamsin’s pudding is insired by her childhood

Tamsin’s pudding is insired by her childhood

“The secret of this pud is to put butter and jam on the bottom layer of brioche, but only butter on the top one, before baking”

Hands-on time 30min. Cooking time about 45min. Serves 8

·         60g (21/2oz) butter, melted, plus extra to grease

·         300ml (1/2 pint) whole milk

·         300ml (1/2 pint) double cream

·         1 vanilla pod, split lengthways

·         3 medium eggs, plus 2 medium egg yolks

·         100g (31/2oz) caster sugar

·         375g all-butter brioche loaf, ideally 2 to 3 days old, sliced

·         300g (11oz) jar good strawberry jam

1.    Preheat the oven to 180oC (160oC fan) mark 4 and generously grease a 2.7 litre (43/4 pint) ovenproof serving dish. Pour the milk and cream into a pan, add the vanilla pod and gently bring almost to the boil.

2.    Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together thoroughly. Pour on the hot milk mixture, whisking well. Remove the vanilla pod.

3.    Arrange half the brioche slices in a layer in the prepared dish and brush with half the melted butter. Gently melt half the strawberry jam with 1tsp water in a pan, then pour it over the buttered brioche slices, spreading evenly to coat the bread.

Description: Arrange half the brioche slices in a layer in the prepared dish and brush with half the melted butter

Arrange half the brioche slices in a layer in the prepared dish and brush with half the melted butter

4.    Arrange the rest of the brioche on top, brush with the remaining melted butter, then pour over the egg mixture. Stand the baking dish in a large roasting tin, then pour enough boiling water into the tin to come halfway up the sides of the dish.

5.    Bake in the oven for 30-40min or until custard has set and the top is beginning to brown.

6.    Melt the remaining jam with 1tsp water as before, then pour it over the top of the pudding, brushing to spread it over evenly. Leave to stand for 10min before serving.

Description: Melt the remaining jam with 1tsp water as before, then pour it over the top of the pudding

Melt the remaining jam with 1tsp water as before, then pour it over the top of the pudding

Per serving

634cals, 36g fat (22g saturates), 72g carbs (54g total sugars)

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