According to a recent survey, bread pudding is the third most popular dish among UK pensioners, with more than 72% eating it at least once a week and almost 26% making their own at least once a month.
As the name suggests, the main ingredient of bread pudding is bread – but it is, in fact, the additional ingredients that create the distinctive character and taste of the many regional variants.
For instance, in Lincolnshire, it’s customary to steep the bread in creosote and blend the sultanas with fausty hagberries and candied eel, while the traditional Staffordshire recipe for black bread pudding calls for the addition of pig’s blood, chopped hastings, charred wood shavings and peat cubes.
In Northumberland, bread pudding can be served hot with onion gravy, cut into thin wafers and mounted on a radish trundler or even reconstituted as a rustic cob loaf which can then be sliced and diced to make twice-baked artisan bread pudding for sale to visitors from London.
Delia Smith’s on-line recipe for bread pudding has been downloaded more than 9 million times (or 137 if you exclude people living in Norwich) and it’s estimated that the bread pudding made in this way would be enough to build 4,000 Great Walls of China, 12,000 Pyramids of Giza and 14 life-size replicas of Cyril Smith.