Salted Caramel Bread Pudding is a thing and your life may never be the same.
Now, as I say, I am merely spreading the word. This is my little modification of a recipe Smitten Kitchen (a very seriously good food/recipe blogger with a cookbook- check her out) posted a month or so ago. My version has a bigger toffee to bread pudding ratio (because toffee is important), is slightly less eggy and most importantly includes hot cross buns.
It is time I came clean about my bizarre hot cross bun preferences. I like the traditional sort, with fruit and without chocolate, but here's where is gets weird; I like them doughy, as in undercooked, the same way I like my steak, medium rare. This is a bit of a problem because most people like their bread products cooked, so I have become that person that stands in front of the display at the supermarket and looks at every pack of hot cross buns, turning them over to search for the most anaemic looking bottom (I can't buy from a bakery because I cannot inspect every pack). Even once this has been achieved, only 2-4 of the 6 are raw enough for my needs so I end up with a freezer full of slightly-too-brown hot cross buns.
But what to do with these leftover buns.
I discovered a while back that they make for a great bread and butter pudding. However, todays recipe elevates the humble bread pudding to Harry Potter style magical.
I served this for breakfast. What? It's traditional to eat hot cross buns on good Friday....
The great thing about this as a breakfast treat is that you prep it all the night before so you don't have to think and be clever in the morning.
You will need
3/4 cup sugar (I used raw caster sugar)
75g unsalted butter
2-3 pinches of cracked salt (not salt on crack- just sea salt or rock salt or whatever your preference is)
4-5 hot cross buns depending on size (I used 5 medium ones)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese (you will use the rest of the tub in the morning)
1 tsp vanilla essence
You can do this all in one pan if you have a fancy oven-safe frying pan (check out Smitten Kitchens instructions) or I made my caramel in a saucepan and then used a 20cm cake tin. Grease the sides of your tin, don't worry about the bottom. Don't line it though.
Melt your butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add sugar and salt.
Limber up your wrist because you will be stirring for a while.
This will look like it is going to fail horribly for a long time and then it will all come together briefly before separating again. Do not panic. Just keep giving it a stir until the sugar has melted, the caramel looks relatively smooth (the butter will probably be floating on top of it- that is OK) and the caramel is a nice toffee brown.
Tip the caramel into your tin straight away otherwise it will keep cooking.
Do not touch the caramel. it is seriously (seriously) hot. Also, make sure your tin is on a wooden board or similar because the caramel heats the tin up super quick to super hot.
Allow to cool to room temp (caramel will harden) and then pop in the fridge.
Meanwhile whisk together eggs, mascarpone, milk and vanilla.
Slice the buns into 1cm (ish) slices and arrange over your hardened caramel.
Pour your milk/egg mixture over the top and squish down the buns so that it is all covered and moist. Cover with plastic wrap and pop in the fridge overnight.
The next morning when you stagger out of bed and try to negotiate the coffee machine, take your tin out of the fridge and allow it to come up to room temp.
By the time you have had coffee and taken your hound for a run (or read the paper or whatever you civilised non-dog-owners do) you can preheat the oven to 190C.
Cook your pudding for about 30 minutes or until it is brown and crunchy on top and doesn't feel soggy in the middle.
Run a knife around the edge to loosen the pudding (do this really well)
Pop a plate over the top and using pot-holders, invert it onto the plate. You might be left with a huge hardish toffee slab left in the pan. If so (hooray!), just scoop it out and put it back on top of your pudding.
Cut a huge wedge, break off a chunk of toffee, scoop on a dollop of leftover mascarpone cheese and groan away.
It is probably best if you have more than two people for the consumption of this pudding, otherwise you might just keep eating...
I'll leave you with a pretty one.