This creamy vegan bread and butter pudding is a traditional British dessert of bread soaked in custard, studded with juicy raisins and a crispy demerara topping.
It is beige, stodgy, packed with carbohydrates and made from stale bread, and for all those reasons it one of the most beloved of all British home-cooked puddings.
Slices of slightly stale bread are buttered and layered up with fruit, then soaked in a rich custard scattered with crunchy dememerara sugar then baked slowly until crisp and golden on top and gooey in the middle. What's not to love?
This was a relatively easy vegan-isation using a tweaked version of my vegan custard recipe, and swapping butter for vegan butter. I like to soak my raisins in sherry but you could use brandy or fruit juice if you prefer.
📝 What you need
- Vegan butter
- Dairy-free milk
- Dairy-free cream
- White bread
- Caster sugar
- Demerara sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Fruit juice, sherry or brandy
For best results you will need to make what's called a 'bain marie' - basically a hot water bath, which makes the pudding cook more consistently and slowly - so you don't get dried out edges and an un-cooked middle.
So when you've layered up your pudding in a baking dish, you will place that baking dish into a larger tin half-filled with boiling water - something like a roasting tin is ideal. Test out the sizes before you start cooking to make sure your smaller dish fits into the larger one with enough room for water.
A round ceramic dish like this pretty one from Kitchencraft is ideal, placed inside a larger roasting tin then half-filled with water.
🔪 Expert Tips
Here are a few little tips that will make your bread and butter pudding extra-special:
- Let the custard soak in to the bottom layer of bread for about 30 minutes. I've seen some recipes calling for overnight soaking, but I find that turns the bread to mush, and prefer a bit more texture.
- Use slightly stale bread If your bread is too fresh and soft it won't hold its texture, and just turn to mush. I used a sliced sourdough loaf which is lovely, but any white bread will do.
- 'Butter' the bread fairly liberally! The more butter you use the more moist and delicious your pudding will be.
- Make a 'bain marie' if you can - basically a hot water bath that cooks the custard gently and evenly. You don't need any fancy equipment for this, just a roasting tin that's slightly bigger than your pudding dish, which you then half-fill with boiling water just before it goes into the oven.
- Be generous with the demerara topping - I usually check on the topping about 10 minutes before the end of cooking time, and if it isn't looking quite crunchy enough I'll add another spoonful of demerara.
There are so many variations you can make to this bread and butter pudding recipe. How about:
- Adding dark chocolate chips instead of the raisins? (check they are dairy-free)
- Adding fresh raspberries or blueberries in place of the raisins?
- Adding cocoa powder to the custard to make a chocolate pudding?
- Using vegan pannettone, brioche or croissants instead of bread?
- Spreading each slice of bread with jam or Biscoff spread as well as butter?
- Adding nuts like chopped hazelnuts or pecans when you add the raisins?
🔪 What else can I make with stale bread?
Never throw away stale bread - it is all the better to make crispy breadcrumbs with. I keep a big bag of breadcrumbs in the freezer and add to it whenever I have odds and ends of stale bread to whizz up into crumbs.
Breadcrumbs are so handy to scatter over all sorts of pies, pasta bakes, traybakes or roasted vegetables for a crispy, crunchy coating, and also ideal for using in:
- Vegan Katsu Curry with tofu coated in a crispy crust of golden breadcrumbs
- Black Bean & Jalapeño Burgers which are bound together with breadcrumbs for a great texture
- Vegan Cauliflower Cheese which has a deliciously crispy golden crust
How do you use yours?
Vegan Bread and Butter Pudding
- 50 g sultanas
- 3 tablespoon fruit juice, sherry or brandy (optional - check it is vegan)
- 500 ml dairy-free milk
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- 1.5 tablespoon caster sugar
- 100 ml dairy-free cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ lemon - zest
- 8 slices white bread (slightly stale if possible. I used white sourdough)
- vegan butter
- 1 tablespoon demerara sugar
- Put the sultanas into a small bowl and cover with the fruit juice, sherry or brandy. Set aside to soak.
- In a small bowl, mix the cornflour to a paste with a little of the dairy-free milk until it is completely smooth.
- In a saucepan, heat the remaining milk, dairy-free cream, sugar, vanilla extract, a grating of nutmeg and lemon zest. Stir in the cornflour paste and keep stirring over a gentle heat until the custard has thickened a little. Set aside until needed.
- Grease a baking dish with vegan butter.
- Butter each slice of bread with vegan butter, and slice into quarters.
- Arrange about two-thirds of the bread pieces in the baking dish, scattering over all of the sultanas as you go. Pour two-thirds of the custard over the bread and set it aside to soak for 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
- Arrange the remaining bread pieces on the top of the pudding then cover with all the remaining custard. Scatter over the demerara sugar.
- Place the baking dish in a roasting tin and fill it half way with boiling water to make a bain-marie.
- Bake the pudding for 35-45 minutes until the top is crispy and golden brown and the custard is bubbling.
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