The Irish have something special to offer: Irish bread and butter pudding. This delicious dessert is a staple of Irish cuisine and has been enjoyed by generations of Irish families.
What is Irish bread and butter pudding?
At its core, Irish bread and butter pudding is a simple dessert made with bread, butter, eggs, sugar, and milk or cream. The bread is typically soaked in the milk and egg mixture, then baked until it forms a custard-like pudding. However, what sets Irish bread and butter pudding apart is the addition of raisins or sultanas and a healthy dose of Irish whiskey. The whiskey adds a subtle depth of flavor to the pudding and gives it a distinctly Irish character.
While bread and butter pudding is a popular dessert in many parts of the world, the Irish version has a long history that dates back to at least the 17th century. It was traditionally made with stale bread that was moistened with milk or cream, and baked in a slow oven. Today, there are many variations of Irish bread and butter pudding, but the classic recipe remains a favorite.
Irish bread and butter pudding recipe
- 2 oz soft butter
- 10 slices white bread, cut diagonally across
- 2 oz golden raisins/sultanas
- ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 12 fl oz milk
- 2 fl oz heavy/double cream
- 1 cup Irish whiskey
- 2 large free-range eggs
- 1 oz sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Heat the oven 355°F / 180C.
Grease a 2 pint/1 liter pie dish with a little of the butter. Spread each of the bread triangles with butter.
Cover the base of the pie dish with overlapping triangles of bread, butter side up. Sprinkle half the golden raisins/sultanas evenly over the bread, and then lightly sprinkle with a little nutmeg and cinnamon. Repeat this layer one more time or until the dish is filled, finishing with the raisins on top.
In a saucepan gently heat the milk, Irish whiskey and cream - DO NOT BOIL.
In a large baking bowl beat the eggs with 3/4 sugar and the vanilla extract until light and airy and pale in color. Pour the warm milk over the eggs and continue beating until all the milk is added.
Pour the egg mixture slowly and evenly over the bread until all the liquid is added. Gently press the surface with your hand to push the bread into the liquid. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the surface then leave to one side for 30 minutes.
Bake the pudding in the hot oven for 40 - 45 minutes, until the surface is golden brown and the pudding is well risen and the egg is set. Serve hot.
Bread and Butter Pudding reheats well covered with aluminum foil in a hot oven, I also love it cold cut into large wedges - perfect for a lunch box.
* Originally published in 2016, updated in April 2023.