Bread pudding

4-6 servings
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Indy Lifestyle Online

I've been a big fan of bread pudding since I was a kid. It was commonly found in local bakers and in my gran's larder. We tasted a couple of very good versions in New Orleans, one at a famous restaurant called Mother's and the other at a new favourite of mine, G W Fins.

Fins' version had both dark and white chocolate in it and both versions were a cross between a bread and butter pudding and our stodgier bread pudding. Tasting these variations has inspired me to update my old version and lighten it up a bit and it may well feature on the menu at my new restaurant, Hix Oyster and Chop House, very soon.

300ml full cream Jersey milk
100ml Jersey or double cream
200g unrefined caster sugar
Half a vanilla pod
300g white bread (leftover or fresh), crusts removed and broken into small pieces
4 eggs, beaten
150g good quality dark chocolate, in small chunks

Put the milk, cream and sugar into a saucepan, split the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds into the milk with the pods as well, bring to the boil, remove from the heat and leave to cool. Whisk the eggs into the milk mixture then put the bread into a bowl; pour the milk mixture over. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.

Pre-heat the oven to 175C/gas mark 4.

Have a baking tray or oven-proof dish ready, large enough to hold the bread and milk mixture about 5cm deep and a larger tray to use as a bain-marie. Stir the mix; transfer to the oven tray and push the nuggets of chocolate randomly into the mixture. Place the tray into a larger dish and pour in hot water. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the top is coloured. Serve warm with ice cream or clotted cream.