We're hard at work on the preparation for tomorrow's big dinner (I hadn't factored in the whole "lose an hour" thing when I first started to plan), and hopefully everything will be delicious as usual. The table is set and looks lovely, a nice combination of tasteful with a touch of whimsy, and the cooking schedule is in place. We are fairly traditional in serving corned beef with mustard sauce, colcannon, vegetables, Irish soda bread and, though I believe it is traditionally an English dish, we serve Bread and Butter Pudding at the end of our St. Patrick's Dinner every year. Simple in appearance, the taste is sublime. The recipe we use is from Gary Rhodes' book Rhodes Around Britain. It's the best I've ever had. It can also be found in the Bon Appetit, May 1998 issue.
BREAD AND BUTTER PUDDING
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
8 large egg yolks
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1-pound loaf white bread, slices cut 1/2 inch thick, crusts trimmed
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons brown raisins
Combine milk and whipping cream in heavy large saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring milk mixture to simmer. Whisk egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk hot milk mixture into yolk mixture. Set custard aside.
Butter 9x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Spread 1/4 cup butter over both sides of bread slices. Arrange 1/3 of bread slices in single layer over bottom of prepared dish, trimming to fit. Sprinkle half of golden raisins and half of brown raisins over bread. Cover with another single layer of bread. Sprinkle remaining raisins over. Layer with remaining bread. Discard vanilla bean from custard; pour over bread. Let stand until some custard is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Bake pudding until custard thickens and begins to set, about 20 minutes.
Preheat broiler. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over pudding. Broil until sugar browns, rotating baking dish for even browning and watching closely, about 2 minutes. Let pudding cool slightly. Serve warm.