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I hate wasting food (as I’m sure you know by now), so I was very chuffed with this recipe from Richard Bertinet’s latest book Crust.  He mentioned it in his first book, Dough:

“I love bread and butter pudding – such an English thing! However we do something similar in France, which we used to do in the bakery to use up all the leftovers at the end of the day: croissants, pain au chocolat, you name it, everything would go into a big mixer with sultanas, creme anglaise and some alcohol, until it became a thick paste, which we would bake for about 2 hours, cut up into portions and then dust with sugar.  It tasted fantastic.”

When the recipe appeared in his second book, how could I resist trying it?

Actually, it’s more a process than a recipe.

Firstly, gather together all the bits of bread, cake and pastry floating around your kitchen.  I had chocolate sweet dough rolls, some pain viennois, a few slices of sourdough bread and a sliver of yoghurt cake.  Bertinet says that you need a good mix of pastry and bread to make this work well.  All up you should have about 500g of baked leftovers.  Break all of these up and put them into a large food processor, then blitz them until they’re broken up and grainy.

Tip the crumbled mix into a large bowl with 200g sultanas (I suspect any dried fruit would work), 5 tablespoons of rum and 300g pastry cream (if you’re making the pastry cream from scratch, make a half batch).  Stir well to combine.  Mine looked a little dry (I was a tad short on the pastry cream), so I added a splash of pouring cream as well.

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Turn the mixture into a lined baking tin – I used an 8″/20cm square  that was probably a bit too large.  A smaller pan will give you a thicker pudding consistent with the photo in Bertinet’s book.

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Bake in a preheated 175C fan assisted oven for 35 – 45 minutes, until the top is crisp and well browned.  Allow to cool, then dredge with icing sugar before serving.

Note: given that the original description mentioned “creme anglaise”, you might be able to substitute microwave custard for the pastry cream.

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I absolutely adore the French mentality of never wasting anything!  Pete loved Le Pudding and I’m completely charmed by the idea that it will change every single time I make it, depending on the baked flotsam of the day.  This particular incarnation tasted like a cross between boiled fruit cake and bread and butter pudding!

Sigh. I think we might have a crush on the Frenchman. Even Pete commented, as he picked up his third piece of Le Pudding, “Richard has never let us down, has he?”

. . . . .

Since my first draft of this post, I’ve made this recipe again, this time in a 7″ square pan.  It was completely different (but equally as delicious), because my leftovers this time included the apricot danish I’d made on the weekend, some leftover pound cake and a rye sourdough loaf.  I love how flexible this recipe is!  I made a half batch of pastry cream as I didn’t have any on hand – but it took only a few minutes in the microwave.

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