Fiction-Food Café

September 6, 2018

Blackberry Bread Pudding | The Tale of Peter Rabbit

"Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail, who were good little bunnies, went down the lane to gather blackberries..."

"...Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail had bread and milk and blackberries for supper."

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

          Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit might be a relatively short story, but there are so many mentions of food (even rabbit pie, oh no!). the focus and action of the tale is Peter and his escapades in Mr. McGregor's garden (I made savory scones inspired by this), but I like how there is a bit of coming around with the story, the beginning showing mischievous Peter's three sisters being sensible and picking blackberries, and then at the end having them eat the blackberries, along with milk and bread, as a nice treat (while Peter was sent to bed with no dinner for getting into so much trouble!). I knew I wanted to make something simple that included those three ingredients, but what? Blackberry bread pudding, of course!

          I've been wanting to share this recipe for a while now, and thought it'd be great for the #ForestFete link-up (you can check it out here!) because Peter and his sisters "lived with their Mother in a sand-bank, underneath the root of a very big fir-tree" and the sisters stayed in the forest, and picked blackberries along the path. According to the British countryside magazine "Country Life" blackberry brambles can be found in many places, but especially woodlands (you can read the article here; it's good!). And it's good timing because early September (starting in late August) is prime time for blackberry picking!

Note: In the recipe below there is an option to include currants. I couldn't find any when I made this, so you don't see any in the pudding in the photos, but they would add a little more texture and flavor, and Peter's mom went to buy currant buns in the beginning of the story, so their addition would be a nice touch. :) The pudding is perfectly fine without them though, so no worries if you don't include them!

Blackberry Bread Pudding

~2 C Packed Brioche or French Bread (preferably day-old), cut into approx. 1/2" cubes
2 Tbsp. Butter, melted (+ solid butter for buttering the baking dish[es])
1/3 C Blackberries
2 Tbsp. Currants (optional)
1/4 C Milk (this can be non-dairy, no problem!)
2 Eggs
1 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar + more for the top (or use Raw/Demerara sugar for the top)
1/8 tsp. Cinnamon, or more to taste
Pinch Nutmeg, or more to taste
Powdered Sugar (optional)

Butter a smallish baking dish (or two, depending) that can fit the 2 cups of bread cubes.

In a medium bowl, toss the bread cubes with the melted butter until evenly coated. Place several bread pieces into the baking dish to cover the bottom & then stick in a few blackberries (& currants if using). Top with more bread & then nestle in a few more berries. Continue to do this until all of the bread is in the dish (or dishes). Lightly press down the cubes to pack them into the dish.

In a large glass measuring cup measure out the milk & then into the cup whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, & spices until well combined (leaving no globs of egg white). Pour this mixture slowly & evenly over the bread & berries. Sprinkle a bit of granulated sugar (or Demerara) over the top.

Heat your oven to 350ºF. Sit the baking dish (or dishes) into a larger baking dish & pour enough hot water into the larger dish to go about 1" up the side of the bread pudding dish. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or so, until the top is golden brown & crispy & the egg mixture is cooked through. Let cool for several minutes or more.

Sift powdered sugar on top (optional), & eat as is or with vanilla ice cream or *homemade whipped cream. Serve with chamomile tea. ;)

*Whipped Cream: Shake vigorously in a closed jar or whisk, until thickened: ~2 Tbsp. Heavy Cream + 1 tsp. Powdered Sugar. Double if desired.

* For more food inspired by Beatrix Potter tales try my Carrot & Radish Scones and Acorn Kisses!*

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