30 October 2015
I was in a bit of a decadent mood one day, and having recently seen an episode of Nigella Express where she made a Caramel Croissant Pudding (a riff on Bread & Butter Pudding), I decided that something similar would satisfy the urge. A couple of hours later, I was tucking into this quite contentedly.
While "butterscotch" typically refers to a mixture of butter and brown sugar, I decided to take it a bit more literally by adding quite a large amount of scotch whisky (apparently anything labelled "whiskey" is not authentic scotch). There is a fair bit of fire involved in burning off the alcohol, and even then it doesn't all evaporate, so I would recommend that you do not use a non-stick saucepan to make the custard base.
Due to the booze content that lingers even after baking, I will leave it up to you to decide whether it is acceptable to give to your children or not.
1 loaf Brioche, cut into cubes
200ml scotch whisky
75g unsalted butter
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 cup dark chocolate buttons
2 whole eggs
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract/essence/paste
Pinch of salt
In regards to the Brioche, the cubes should be approx. 2.5 cm, (or 1 inch). If possible, it should also be slightly stale (as in a couple of days after it was baked) as the more it dries out, the more custard it will absorb. Most loaves are around 450-550g (approx. 1lb).
If you don't want to use scotch, you can use Irish whiskey, bourbon, rum, etc. I've also made it with Baileys and another time with Frangelico, but this will change the flavour a bit. If you want to leave the alcohol out altogether (spoilsport) just use some extra milk.
As mentioned above, "butterscotch" is meant to be butter and brown sugar, however I have opted to use caster sugar (which is sweeter) to smooth the edge off the alcohol. If you're leaving out the alcohol, feel free to use 2/3 cup of brown sugar instead. If you can find raw caster sugar, this is a good compromise as it has all the sweetness of plain caster sugar with a hint of caramel reminiscent of brown sugar.
1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
2. Tumble half of the cubed brioche into a baking dish, then scatter over half of the chocolate buttons.
3. Repeat Step 2 with the remaining brioche and chocolate.
4. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then stir in the sugar until combined and it begins to change colour and crystalise. (You'll be adding liquid which will dissolve any lumps.)
5. Pour in the whisky. (TIP: You may want to do this off the heat as it can catch fire right away if you're using a gas stove.)
6. Either set it alight (carefully) and swirl the pan until the flames stop, or allow to simmer for at least 5 minutes, stirring frequently. (Fire can tend to scorch the pan, hence the reason not to use non-stick.)
7. Once the alcohol is burnt off, stir in the milk until combined, then remove from the heat.
8. In a jug, whisk together the eggs (including the extra yolks), vanilla and a pinch of salt until combined, then whisk in the hot milk and whisky mixture until combined.
9. Slowly pour the custard mix over the brioche and chocolate, ensuring that it is as evenly distributed as possible, then press down the brioche so that it submerges in the custard as much as it can.
10. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. (This allows the brioche to absorb the custard.)
11. Place into the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes or until the custard is set and the top is golden brown.
12. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving with some whipped cream or ice cream.
Serves 2-8 (being realistic!).
A video of this recipe is also available - https://youtu.be/DFyhHJWC0HA.