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Diana Henry’s Sour Cherry, Rose & Cardamom Brioche Pudding

  • Time preparation 25 minutes plus soaking time
  • cook time 45 minutes
  • Serve Serves 8

Food writer Diana Henry gives old-fashioned bread and butter pudding a makeover by using buttery brioche bread instead of white bread. She's also swapped out the traditional golden raisins and chocolate chips for freshly ground cardamom, rose water and sour cherries, giving this British dessert a Middle Eastern twist. You can have a go at customising it yourself too, perhaps with a scattering of blueberries, or with tangy marmalade sandwiches!

Recipe taken from From the Oven to the Table by Diana Henry (£25.00, Mitchell Beazley) octopusbooks.co.uk Image Credit: Laura Edwards
  • 125g dried sour cherries
  • 100ml unsweetened pomegranate juice
  • About 300ml double cream (heavy cream)
  • 300ml whole milk
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Seeds from 2 cardamom pods, ground
  • 3 large free-range eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 250g brioche loaf
  • 35g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp rose water, or to taste
  • Squeeze of lemon or lime juice
  • Icing sugar (powdered sugar) to dust

Put the dried cherries in a small saucepan and add enough pomegranate juice to just cover. Bring to the boil, then take off the heat and leave the cherries to sit and plump up (they need at least 30 minutes, but longer is fine).

Bring the cream, milk and salt to the boil in a heavy-based saucepan with the cardamom, then leave for 15 minutes off the heat. Beat the eggs, egg yolk and sugar together. Pour the warm milk mixture on to this egg mixture, stirring constantly.

Grease a 2 litre ovenproof dish with butter. Slice the brioche and butter it. Layer the slices of brioche bread in the buttered dish, scattering the soaked cherries and any leftover pomegranate juice on as you layer the bread (try to get most of the cherries under the bread, or they might burn).

Add some rose water to the custard mixture – not too much – and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, then taste it. You should be able to detect the rose water, but it shouldn’t be too strong.

Brands differ in strength, so you have to taste and decide if you need a little more. Pour the egg and milk mixture evenly over the layers of bread. Leave the pudding to sit for 30 minutes; this will make it lighter.

Preheat the oven to 160°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 5.

Put the dish into a roasting tin and carefully pour enough boiling water into the tin to come about one-third of the way up the sides of the dish.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40–45 minutes, or until puffy, golden brown and just set on the top. Leave to cool slightly – the pudding will continue to cook in the residual heat for a while – then dust with icing sugar before serving. We love serving this dish with a scoop of ice cream. 

Cook's Tip: remember, this Recipe can be customised! Swap out the sour cherries for a scattering of blueberries, or add some white chocolate chips for some extra sweetness!

Ingredients

  • 125g dried sour cherries
  • 100ml unsweetened pomegranate juice
  • About 300ml double cream (heavy cream)
  • 300ml whole milk
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Seeds from 2 cardamom pods, ground
  • 3 large free-range eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 250g brioche loaf
  • 35g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp rose water, or to taste
  • Squeeze of lemon or lime juice
  • Icing sugar (powdered sugar) to dust

Method

Put the dried cherries in a small saucepan and add enough pomegranate juice to just cover. Bring to the boil, then take off the heat and leave the cherries to sit and plump up (they need at least 30 minutes, but longer is fine).

Bring the cream, milk and salt to the boil in a heavy-based saucepan with the cardamom, then leave for 15 minutes off the heat. Beat the eggs, egg yolk and sugar together. Pour the warm milk mixture on to this egg mixture, stirring constantly.

Grease a 2 litre ovenproof dish with butter. Slice the brioche and butter it. Layer the slices of brioche bread in the buttered dish, scattering the soaked cherries and any leftover pomegranate juice on as you layer the bread (try to get most of the cherries under the bread, or they might burn).

Add some rose water to the custard mixture – not too much – and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, then taste it. You should be able to detect the rose water, but it shouldn’t be too strong.

Brands differ in strength, so you have to taste and decide if you need a little more. Pour the egg and milk mixture evenly over the layers of bread. Leave the pudding to sit for 30 minutes; this will make it lighter.

Preheat the oven to 160°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 5.

Put the dish into a roasting tin and carefully pour enough boiling water into the tin to come about one-third of the way up the sides of the dish.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40–45 minutes, or until puffy, golden brown and just set on the top. Leave to cool slightly – the pudding will continue to cook in the residual heat for a while – then dust with icing sugar before serving. We love serving this dish with a scoop of ice cream. 

Cook's Tip: remember, this Recipe can be customised! Swap out the sour cherries for a scattering of blueberries, or add some white chocolate chips for some extra sweetness!

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