If you’re looking for a simple, delicious dessert that won’t be too heavy after a festive meal – this English/French fusion will delight. Inspired by traditional English bread and butter pudding (see BBC Food recipe), our French infusion includes using pieces of pain d’epices. For a starter, I had cut out little Christmas shapes in the ginger bread to toast and serve with foie gras (goose liver) and confiture d’oignons (onion chutney) and had all these little bits left over… a bit of imagination later et voila !
- butter for greasing
- gingerbread pieces
- 50g unsweetened stewed fruit or cranberries
- 200ml milk
- 125g greek yoghurt
- 2 eggs
- 1T honey (or more if preferred)
- sprinkle of mixed spice
Pour the milk into a small pan, add the honey and a sprinkling of mixed spice. Remember that the gingerbread already contains a lot of flavour, so if you add too much honey or sweetened fruits, it could be too sweet. Heat the milk, honey and spice up gently until the mixture foams, stirring continuously. Put it aside to cool a bit.
Heat the oven to 180°C.
Grease a cupcake pan with a fairly thick layer of butter. Press pieces of gingerbread loosely into the bottom and along the sides, forming a little cupcake. It shouldn’t be too firm, otherwise the custard mix won’t penetrate the bread. Add stewed fruit and gingerbread pieces to fill up the little cups.
Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat well. Add greek yoghurt and mix well. Then add the milk mixture a bit at a time, stirring very well to make the custard mixture.
Gently spoon the custard into each cupcake form. I used a wooden skewer to poke holes so the the custard could penetrate everywhere. You really want the gingerbread to absorb this lovely liquid. While waiting for our oven to heat up, I kept topping up the custard. In normal bread and butter pudding, you leave the dish for half an hour before popping it into the oven, so the bread gets that lovely unctuous pudding texture.
Bake the tartlets in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until they are firm to the touch. Let them cool off a little bit, and serve with a dash of ice-cream. Or perhaps pour some brandy over it and set alight?
This recipe is very relaxed and invites you to improvise. It’s easy to increase the ingredients and make loads. While there’s nothing like enjoying good food with good company, if you happen to be on your own, these little tartlets are perfect for freezing and enjoying them one (or two) at a time when it suits you, best served warm. Bon appetite!
TIP: Fairly similar to Pumpkin Spice, Mixed Spice is found in most English homes and is commonly used for baking (see ingredients). I also enjoy adding it to our hot Indian curries.