*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Bread and Butter Pudding, I provide you with a brief summary about the recipe, other food ideas, tips and a recipe in that order!
Ashton Hall is Lauren Belfer’s newest novel. Belfer, the novelist of acclaimed City of Light, has written another historical women’s fiction novel centering on women’s rights in a society and time that stifles them.
Touted by many as a gothic mystery, Ashton Hall has gothic vibes as well as a mystery, but I didn’t feel like that was the primary storyline. To me, it read very closely in feel and theme to The Mystery of Mrs. Christie. While that novel also features a mystery, its core was about women’s rights and independence. I felt the same can be said of Ashton Hall.
If you love an English setting, gothic vibes, and women’s rights, you’ll likely enjoy Ashton Hall. This recipe for Bread and Butter Pudding was inspired by Lauren Belfer’s own love for the dish!
Basically a pastry and a pudding in one dish, this dessert is best served warm. This version full of raisins and chocolate chips is comfort in a dish.
For Other British Food Ideas:
There is actually quite a bit of specific British food mentioned in Ashton Hall, which I think adds to the setting quite a bit. If you are wanting to create an English menu, I think you’ll find plenty of options in this list.
- Alice organizes a ploughman’s lunch – sandwiches with cheddar and relish and green apples on the side. Brownies for dessert.
- The local bakery serves gingerbread loaves and chocolate-almond croissants.
- Matthew makes dinner – chilled gazpacho, salad of curried chicken, apples, and currants, and chocolate cake.
- Lizzie and Hannah meet at the Orchard Tea Garden – pot of tea and currant scones with clotted cream and jam.
- Dinner at Lizzie’s – hazelnut dacquoise for dessert.
- Christopher returns home and regains strength – builder’s tea, with Scottish oat biscuits and homemade ice cream.
Lauren Belfer, spent some time living in England, and shared her love for bread and butter pudding. (Keep reading to see her fun memories!) She also shared tips for variations on the classic English dish!
I’ll say, this bread and butter pudding is wonderful as it is – no extra help needed. It reminded me of a baked French toast (very similar in taste and cooking technique). This recipe includes both chocolate and raisins, although most bread and butter puddings only include raisins.
I say bring on both! But you can eliminate the chocolate if you wish.
A few tips on making Bread and Butter Pudding:
Here are a few tips to help make your cooking experience the best it can be!
- If you have a large book club, I recommend doubling this recipe. It’s likely enough to feed about four people.
- Use a sturdy bread that will hold up to the milk, sugar, and egg mix. Brioche is a good choice.
- Cut off the crusts. This makes for a more uniformed texture in the dish. The crusts don’t soak up the milk well.
Bread and Butter Pudding Recipe:
Bread and Butter Pudding
- 5 slices of buttered bread cut into triangles, with the crusts removed (breadcrusts, especially hard crusts, don’t absorb the liquid very well)
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips optional
- Grated lemon rind from ½ lemon
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 1/2 tbsp sugar
- Butter to grease the pie dish
- Butter a deep, 1-pint pie dish.
- Put in a layer of bread and butter slices, buttered side up
- Add a sprinkling of raisins, chocolate chips, and lemon zest
- Continue to add more layers, alternating the buttered bread with raisins and chocolate chips, and ending with buttered bread on the top
- In a bowl, beat the eggs.
- Combine the milk and sugar in a pot and heat almost to boiling, then allow it cool slightly.
- Combine the milk and sugar with the eggs, whisking them together.
- Pour this over the bread and butter layers and let the mixture rest for about a half hour, giving the bread time to absorb the liquid.
- Bake at 325-degrees F for 45 minutes, or until the top is puffy and golden.
More Fun from Lauren Belfer:
Please insert a short description of your recipe and why it relates to your novel. Include any information you think readers would enjoy!
When my husband and I lived in Cambridge, England – the setting of my new novel, ASHTON HALL – we became obsessed with what the English call bread and butter pudding. We took bread-and-butter-pudding crawls the way some people take bar crawls, making our way from one café and gastropub to the next to try their bread-and-butter-pudding offerings. One Cambridge café in particular, Stickybeaks, surprised us with their varied and superb flavor combinations – mocha, orange, and more, an inspiration for any baker. Alas Stickybeaks no longer exists, but its bread and butter pudding lives in our memories. This recipe is for a very basic bread and butter pudding. Recently a friend suggested adding a thin layer of orange marmalade along the bottom of the baking dish. Another friend recommended adding a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg. In my version of the recipe, I’ve included bittersweet chocolate chips as an option, in addition to the traditional raisins. A friend has told me, in strong terms, that I should use one or the other but not both. I adore chocolate, and so I’m using both – the point being that once you have this basic recipe, the permutations are almost endless.
Good food and a good book go hand-in-hand. What is your favorite food to enjoy while reading?
Before I sit down to read a novel, I like to make a pot of strong English breakfast tea. I fill a small pitcher with milk to add to the tea, and I warm the milk in the microwave. I put one or two (okay, three or four) shortbread or ginger cookies on a plate. I reach for my favorite mug. After arranging these various items on a tray, I bring the tray to the small table next to my reading chair. I turn on the lamp … and I’m ready to lose myself in a book for hours.
Did you sample any interesting food while researching this book? Or experience anything exciting while researching?
ASHTON HALL developed from the months my husband and I spent living in England. While we were there, I devoted myself to sampling English food, and my food research continued in the years that followed, hand in hand with my historical research for the novel. I fell in love with English pastries, biscuits, puddings, and desserts – scones of all varieties, trifle, Eton mess, Eccles Cakes, sticky toffee pudding, short bread biscuits, Victoria sponge cake, lemon drizzle cake, and of course, bread and butter pudding. Sometimes I think about setting another novel in Britain just so that I can continue my research into British food.
Find Lauren Belfer:
Lauren can be found online!
Don’t forget to check out the fabulous Best of Women’s Fiction podcast where Lauren Belfer discusses Ashton Hall and more: HERE.
Have you tried bread and butter pudding? What did you think? What are some of your favorite variations?
Until next time, Happy Reading!
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