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by Mary Berry (Healine, 2006)

Mary Berry truly is the Grande Dame of the Range, and it is good to see her continuing ascendency, a good deed in a dark world.. This mincemeat bread and butter pudding is a brilliant creation. 

Mincemeat bread and butter pudding

This is wonderful at any time of the year, not just at Christmas!  It is essential to make it in a shallow dish so that you get maximum crunchy top.  It rises like a souffle, so serve at once straight from the oven.

Serves 6 -8


50g (2oz) ready-to-eat dried apricots
2 tablespoons brandy or rum
12 thin slices white bread, buttered
1 x 450g (1lb) jar luxury mincemeat
50g (2oz) caster sugar
3 large eggs
300ml (1/2 pint) double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150ml (1/4 pint) milk
1 tablespoon demerara sugar

Well butter a 28cm (11in) fairly shallow round china ovenproof dish.  Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas 4.

  1. Snip the apricots into smallish pieces and soak in the brandy or rum whilst making the pudding.
  2. Make sandwiches of the bread using the mincemeat, but don't fill right to the edges because these are trimmed off.  Cut off the crusts and cut each sandwich diagonally into four.  Arrange the sandwich triangles across the dish, slightly overlapping.
  3. Beat together the caster sugar, eggs, cream and vanilla extract. Stir in the milk.
  4. Scatter the apricots over the bread.  Gradually pour over the cream mixture, making sure all the bread is coated.  If you have time, leave the pudding to stand for 30-60 minutes (to allow the bread to absorb the liquid, so it becomes light and crisp during cooking).  If you have no time, don't worry - you can still bake it straightaway.
  5. Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top of the pudding, and bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes until well risen, crisp and golden.  Serve warm with creme fraiche or cream.