Let me introduce you to our guest chef - and her decadent delicious dessert...
Vanessa Kimbell is a chef and food writer with a gorgeous recipe book PREPPED! due to hit the shops later this year.
She is a fabulous supporter of Cooking Gorgeous (and can often be seen sporting her favourite apron - our very own Aubergine Standard, including on one memorable trip to the cinema!) Vanessa has kindly offered up one of her trademark dishes to kick off our new recipe series: Notes from a Kitchen Island.
I hope you love making it - and that you love eating it even more.
PS: It's a British classic with a touch of spice - a perfect partner to a right royal weekend!
Star Anise & Orange Bread Pudding
I don’t suppose we often think of bread pudding as a glamorous dish, but this is a seriously gorgeous desert that is met with delight in our house. The star anise gives a delightful twist and the bitter orange marmalade tempers the sweetness while the eggs and cream form a deliciously smooth custard.
To make your own bread to use in this recipe, I highly recommend the Milk Loaf from 'The Handmade Loaf' by Dan Lepard. An artisan baker extraordinaire.
The pudding generously serves 10 - 12, but we eat it over 2 - 3 days. I sent part of this one back with my photographer Nicky Callis - it was the least I could do to thank her for these lovely photos!
And here's how to make it...
Serves 10 - 12
Prep time 20 minutes
Cooking time 1 hour 20
Size of dish 9cm deep, 32cm long and 27cm wide 775g of white tin loaf
140g caster sugar
Zest of 1 orange
1.5l of whole milk
600ml single cream
8 medium eggs
7 star anise
3 or 4 tbs of orange marmalade
1 Preheat the oven to 180 (between gas mark 4 and 5). Slice the bread into 1.5 cm slices.
2 Arrange the slices in a large deep dish, scattering the raisins and sugar evenly between each layer. You will get about 3 layers or so depending on the thickness of your slices. Keep 3 or 4 spoons of sugar in reserve to use later on. Bear in mind you need to leave a little room at the top, as the pudding will rise as it cooks.
3 Evenly distribute the orange zest over the top of the pudding.
4 Pour the milk, cream and eggs in a jug and whisk to evenly distribute the egg.
5 Pour gently over the bread and using the tips of your fingers gently press into the bread to ensure the liquid is distributed throughout.
6 Sprinkle on the remaining sugar and scatter the Star Anise over the top. Pop into the oven. After an hour and 20 minutes check that the pudding is risen and golden. If it's not golden, cook for a further 10 minutes and check again.
7 Remove from the oven and discard the Star Anise before glazing. To glaze, gently spoon 3 - 4 tablespoons of marmalade over the pudding whilst it's still hot.
8 Serve hot or cold with custard or cream.
For more information about Vanessa Kimbell’s forthcoming recipe book go to www.prepped.co.uk
With very many thanks to the lovely Vanessa Kimbell (and apologies to Bill Bryson).