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Bustrengo

One of my old-faithful dessert recipes is bustrengo, an Italian variant on bread pudding that I learned from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italy book. You can find his version on his website but I have my own twist on it.

I start with three bowls and some sort of baking tray lined with greaseproof paper (or well-buttered). I used to use a large circular pizza tray but have used a rectangular roasting dish the last couple of times. In the first bowl, I mix dry ingredients: 100g polenta, 200g plain flour, 100g stale breadcrumbs, 100g sugar (caster sugar or some sort of brown sugar), up to a teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch or two of salt. It needs to be a large bowl because it is used for all the mixing. The second bowl gets wet ingredients: 3 large eggs (beaten), 500ml full fat milk, 100g honey (runny is easier to mix but set works with more stirring) and 50g olive oil. The third bowl gets the fruit: 100g chopped dried figs, 100g raisins / sultanas, 500g apples (peeled, cored and roughly chopped up – I normally start with about 600g fruit to account for wastage) and the zest of a lemon or two (you can also include some orange zest).

The wet ingredients are poured in and mixed with the dry and then the fruit is added to the bowl and also mixed in. Pour this into the prepared container and bake for about 3/4 hour at 180°C. Check with a knife to see if it is cooked — it may need more time (and it may need covering with foil if the top is getting too brown).

It seems a very reliable mix and is pretty easy to put together (preparing the apples is the most arduous part). I’ll be interested to hear how you get on if you try it.

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