I must confess that I hesitated to post this recipe as it was one I wrote way back at the end of last year when strawberries were in abundance and I was powerless to their pull. Now the offerings on the shelves of our fruit and vege shop are pale and undoubtedly lacking in flavour having flown half way across the world just to appease the appetites of those who cannot live without summer fruit in winter. However.....it does happen to be summer in the Northern Hemisphere, AND for those of you located South of the equator then frozen strawberries will work just as well. Thinly sliced pear would also be a delicious substitute and should you be a white chocolate fan then give that a go too. Really it is one of those recipes that you can adapt to suit your taste or the contents of your pantry. And as it is grey and wet outside, yet again, then this is the perfect comfort food, served snuggled up by the fire.
Strawberry & Dark Chocolate Bread & Butter Pudding
400g Ciabatta bread, cut on the diagonal into 1cm slices
40g butter, softened
125g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
325g strawberries, hulled, thinly sliced
¼ cup brown sugar
1 ½ cups milk
1 ½ cups cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Icing sugar to dust
Preheat the oven to 180˚C and butter an oven-proof dish. Butter each piece of bread on one side then layer the bread, chocolate and strawberries into the buttered dish. Beat together eggs, sugar, milk, cream and vanilla and then pour this mixture over the bread. Leave to stand for 15 minutes so that the liquid is well absorbed. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until set. If the bread starts to brown too much put a piece of tin foil over the top of the pudding for the remainder of the cooking time. Remove from the oven and dust generously with icing sugar.