It's the Big Garden Birdwatch weekend and I'm trying to count our feathery friends. Were it not for the snowfall and the neighbour's cat that is. I'm clearly not getting a realistic count with the cat climbing up the postament and chasing the birds. Seems I might have to skip this year.

I've been meaning to share this with you for a while.
The humble bread and butter pudding got a makeover.

I was never a fan of bread and butter pudding. To me it seemed so plain in taste and kind of a soggy, slobbery mess. Until I saw Paul Ainsworth's take on it. That did spark some ideas and I came up with with a bread and butter pudding even more decadent than his.

It is truly rich. At first one might think that this little ramekin is not enough to satisfy a craving but trust me, for most people it is enough.
It is quite easy to put together, the hardest part being the custard but go ahead, you can cheat and buy it ready made if you're in a hurry.

Luxury bread and butter pudding

8 slices of toast, crusts removed
80g marzipan
60g butter
about 100ml cowberry jelly (cranberry, blackcurrant, something with an acidic kick)
5 egg yolks
500ml milk
60g sugar
flaked almonds

First, make the custard. Whisk egg yolks with sugar until pale and tripled in volume. Scald milk with vanilla. Trickle hot milk over the yolks, stirring continuously. Heat the mixture over a bain marie until starting to thicken. Cover and set aside to cool.

Butter four ramekins.
Spread softened butter on all of the toast slices and trim into rounds suitable for the ramekins. You have to use trimmings for the middle layer toast rounds.
Divide marzipan into 8 equal chunks and flatten these into round disks between your palms.

Plop a teaspoon of jelly into each ramekin, spread around and cover it with a round of buttered toast and plop another teaspoon of jelly on top. Next layer should be a marzipan disk, followed by a round of buttered toast, then again a teaspoon of jelly, another marzipan disk and the last round of buttered toast.
Pour the custard over the puddings, the toast slices should soak it all up. It's ok to fill the ramekins to the brim. Sprinkle some flaked almonds on top. Let stand in the fridge, covered with cling film, for at least 3 hours but you can easily leave them overnight.

Let ramekins come to room temperature before baking, otherwise the moulds might crack.
Pre-heat the oven to 120C. Place ramekins in a roasting tray and fill it with enough hot water to come half way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Do not let them try out, these should have a creamy mouthfeel.
You can brown the tops under a grill or with a blow torch.

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