Man of Letters

Bread And Butter Pudding

Fit for an heir...

Phew! Busy spring and summer. I’m just getting caught up on my email. I thought you’d find this one interesting.


Subject: Recipe

Your Royal Highness-

I’m terribly sorry it has taken so long to get back to you—I’ve been adrift in a sea of overdue correspondence. (or is it correspondense? I always forget which words use the “s” instead of the “c” in English english.) Just to put things in context, it is almost September and I’ve only just sent my recipe for Christmas cookies to Dame Joan Collins (O.B.E.), and she asked me for that at her Christmas / Hanukkah Party. I think she’s a bit peeved. Such is my quiet, simple, life with only one staff of 12.

To answer your first question: no, I would not be unduly concerned that people are not asking for the recipe for His Royal Highness’ Groom’s cake. After all, it was less a cake and more a big hunk of chocolate with some biscuits mixed in. A little bit went a long way. (Leave it to the House of Windsor to figure out a way to get people to eat candy with a fork! Don’t think I didn’t get a jolly good laugh watching Sir Elton John (C.B.E.) slide that around on his plate.)

At the wedding you expressed your concern about the very small size of your kitchen in the house where you and William will be living until he finishes his military service. You are correct in surmising that we New Yorkers know a little something about small kitchens. I understand your decision to leave your Kitchen Aid stand mixer back in London due to space, but might I suggest that even as a Newlywed one should continue to put one’s best foot forward. “The way to a man’s heart…” and all that, eh?

That aside, I am more than happy to help you with a few recipes you can use in your little kitchen in Wales.

As William is obviously a chocoholic (I knew there was a reason why he is so beloved), you may want to try my Tiger-Stripe Brownies. Yes, I am fully aware that The Hon. Nigella Lawson (O.B.E.) always bakes her brownies with butter, but I am insistent that canola oil makes a better brownie, and we don’t want to be sending Wills off to battle with a leaden tummy full of butter, do we? (That’s likely what got ol’ Uncle Andy in trouble, wink wink.) This is one place where I must insist that you listen to this wise old colonist.

I thought it would also be fun to include a typically British recipe for you…after all, who is more typically British than “Lord Thirdinlinetothethrone” (the latter almost looks like the name of a town in Wales, doesn’t it? Tee hee!) I know William doesn’t like it when I call him that, so apologies. How does Bread and Butter Pudding sound to you? Sounds British to me.

Recently I had occasion to run into Lady Posh Spice-Beckham (M.B.E., R.I.A.A.) at the intimate Los Angeles estate of Sir Craig Ferguson (C.B.S.). Naturally the conversation turned to food. After much begging and cajoling, I was able to extricate the famous Beckham Bread and Butter Pudding recipe from her. (Sir Craig’s Haggis recipe is a stone best left unturned.)

Here’s the thing with the Beckham’s recipe: they add beer. I may be from the wrong side of the Atlantic to appreciate this, but hmmmmm…I’m not feeling it. It could be that our American version, which goes by the rather unadorned name of Bread Pudding, and the French version, Pain Perdu, have slightly less aggressive mandates. Mine, I’m afraid, hews closely to these models.

I made you just a simple, plain, pudding, and have a few recommendations should you care to get fancy.

First, use a sturdy sliced white bread loaf, none of that squidgy stuff. Here in the US I use the Pepperidge Farm brand. Second—and this is optional—I cut off the crusts. Don’t throw away the crusts though! I collect them in a bowl, toss them with a bit of Olive Oil and minced garlic and pop them into a hot oven to toast. They make great—if a bit unconventional—salad croutons. Cutting off the crusts is mostly for looks, but also creates little crunchy points as the pudding bakes which serve as a great contrast with the moist pudding base.

As we discussed, William loves his chocolate, so you should feel free to sprinkle about a half cup of chocolate chips amongst the buttered, sliced bread, or if you’re feeling particularly earthy, break a couple of bars of chocolate into little pieces and use that. (Bar chocolate melts better than chocolate chips some of which have stabilizers added to help them retain their shape.)

I only recommend chocolate because of my own addiction, but you can also add sliced apples (perfect in the fall here in the states); berries will still thrill in these waning days of summer. The traditional toss-in is raisins—sultanas or otherwise. This is where you can feel free to be creative. I also like a dab of ice cream on mine. Rich? Yes. You are.

We also have the Jewish New Year coming up next month. If you substitute cooked egg noodles for the bread you will make a dynamite Noodle Kugel. (Sorry, can’t resist the thought of William, the future head of the Church of England eating kugel on Rosh Hashonah. So glad you’re open minded.)

Kate, I do hope you and William enjoy this Bread and Butter Pudding. Make it and let me know what you think.

Looking forward to seeing you at Lord and Lady Corwin’s upcoming foxhunt.


Click here for the recipe for Bread And Butter Pudding.


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