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Strawberry, Rhubarb & Chocolate Bread Pudding

This is one of those old-school recipes that can conjure up comforting, nostalgic memories from one’s childhood, but for others, the memories aren’t so fond. This reinvention of an old classic will even surprise the naysayers. Using little sweet Vietnamese slider rolls, drowned in a creamy vanilla custard with layers of tangy strawberry and rhubarb compote, melted Haigh’s milk orange pastilles and the crunch of toasted almonds, this dessert is the ultimate comfort food, for those cold Wintery days.

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 8-10
  • 12 Vietnamese slider rolls, cut into thirds or 400g panettone or brioche loaf, sliced
  • 150g Haigh’s Milk Orange Pastilles, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup (35g) slivered almonds
  • Vanilla custard or ice cream, to serve
Vanilla custard
  • 1 cup (250ml) jersey milk
  • 1 cup (250ml) pouring cream
  • 3 extra-large free range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup (80g) raw caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Strawberry and rhubarb compote
  • 400g diced rhubarb stems (approx. 4), cut into 2cm chunks and rinsed
  • 1 punnet strawberries, hulled, quartered and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 cup (60g) raw caster sugar

Directions

  • 20 mins + cooling Prep
  • 75 mins Cooking
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Lightly grease a deep 22cm x 22cm baking dish with butter.
  2. For the compote, heat a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat. Place rinsed rhubarb and strawberries in a large mixing bowl with vanilla bean paste and sugar, tossing until well coated. Add the mixture to the preheated pan, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes or until sugar begins to caramelise, stirring occasionally to prevent fruit sticking. Reduce heat to medium and cook for a further 6-8 minutes, or until rhubarb collapses, stirring occasionally to prevent fruit sticking. Set aside in a bowl and allow to cool completely.
  3. For the vanilla custard, combine milk, cream, eggs, sugar and vanilla together in a large jug, whisking until well combined.
  4. For the pudding, layer a third of the bread into the prepared baking dish. Carefully pour over a third of the vanilla custard mix and leave to stand for 5 minutes, to allow bread to soak up liquid. Top with a third of the rhubarb compote and a third of the chopped Haigh’s pastilles. Repeat process with remaining ingredients, finishing with a top layer of compote and chocolate, sprinkling almonds over the top to finish.
  5. Place pudding in preheated oven for 20 minutes, before turning the temperature down to 160°C (140°C fan-forced) for 45 minutes or until the pudding is puffed, golden and custard is cooked through. Remove from oven and serve immediately with cream.
  6. Note: an alternative to slider rolls is 400g panettone or brioche loaf, sliced.