With the cooler autumn nights upon us, combine new season pears with good quality fruit bread for a warming, creamy bread & butter pudding.  With Easter around the corner, left over hot cross buns can be used to replace the bread slices.

serves 6-8

40g unsalted softened butter, plus extra for greasing dish

450g day old good quality sour dough fruit bread sliced, or 6 hot cross buns, halved

3 beurre bosc pears

juice and finely grated zest of an orange

3 eggs

⅓ cup caster sugar

375ml milk

300ml thickened cream (35% fat)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

double cream or ice cream, to serve

Preheat oven to 170C (150C fan forced).  Generously grease the base and sides of a 2 litre capacity deep sided ovenproof dish with extra butter. 

For the pears, peel, quarter, remove cores and cut pears into 2cm chunks.  Toss in a bowl with orange juice to stop browning. Set aside.

Spread the sliced bread or hot cross buns, if using, with butter.  Sandwich two slices, or bun halves, together then roughly tear into pieces.  Place all the pieces in the dish.  Add the pear and any remaining orange juice and gently toss to mix together and spread out the bread mixture evenly in the dish.  

Using a hand whisk, beat the eggs, sugar, milk, cream and vanilla together in a large bowl until well combined.  Add the orange zest, stirring to combine well.

Pour the wet mixture evenly over the bread layer.   Set aside for 30 to 45 minutes, allowing the liquid to be absorbed.  

Bake for 1¼ hours or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the pudding.

Serve hot or warm spooned onto plates with cream, or ice cream.    

Fiona Hammond © April 2019

Mark Brancatisano