This is one of the older nursery puddings that has enjoyed a terrific revival, but initially it was just a way of recycling old bread, made with just milk and a scattering of dried fruit. It was something that you had eaten, but didn’t necessarily relish. But there’s nothing frugal about this recipe – it’s got lots of fruit in it and a generous proportion of cream to milk. When people taste it, they just go ‘Wow!’ I know it has a lot of cream in it, but don’t skimp – just don’t eat it every day!


12 slices good-quality white bread, crusts removed
50g (2oz) butter, preferably unsalted
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, cinnamon or mixed spice
200g (7oz) plump raisins or sultanas
450ml (16fl oz) cream
225ml (8fl oz) milk
4 large organic eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
175g (6oz) sugar plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
pinch of salt


1 x 20.5cm (8 inch) square pottery or china dish

Butter the bread and arrange 4 slices, buttered side down, in one layer in the buttered dish.

Sprinkle the bread with half the spice and half the raisins, then arrange another layer of bread, buttered side down, over the raisins, and sprinkle the remaining nutmeg and raisins on top. Cover the raisins with the remaining bread, again, buttered side down.

In a bowl whisk together the cream, milk, eggs, vanilla extract, sugar and the pinch of salt. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve over the bread. Sprinkle the tablespoonful of sugar over the top and let the mixture stand, loosely covered, at room temperature for at least 1 hour or chill overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas

Place the pudding in a bain-marie and pour in enough water to come half way up the sides of the baking dish. Bake the pudding in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour or until the top is crisp and golden. Serve the pudding warm with some softly Whipped Cream.