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Christmas Bread Pudding and Scottish Butterscotch Bread Pudding

Published by Roxane Konz

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The Scots have always celebrated the New Year (‘Hogmanay’) even more than Christmas and have a host of traditional dishes for the period, among them a vanilla bread pudding topped with a sumptuous syrupy sauce: Butterscotch Bread Pudding.

Christmas Bread Pudding

  • 1 lb (454 g) of day-old bread, cubed
  • 2 cups (1 lb / 454g) of sugar
  • 3 sticks (12 oz / 360 g) of butter or margarine
  • 2 tbsp (½ oz / 15 g) of cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • Freshly-grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup (5 oz / 150 g) of currants
  • 1 cup (5 oz / 150 g) of raisins (or sultanas)
  • 1 cup (5 oz / 150 g) of candied or glacée cherries
  • 2 cups (10 oz / 300 g) of dates cut into small pieces
  • ½ cup (2 oz / 60g) of pecans, walnuts or almonds, toasted and chopped
  • 3 tsp (20 ml) of rum essence or 6 tbsp (90 ml) of brandy or rum
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
  2. Cube the bread then soak it in water for two hours, until completely soft.
  3. Drain the bread and squeeze out any excess water. Place it into a bowl, add the margarine, sugar & cocoa and beat together to combine.
  4. Beat the eggs in a small bowl; then add them to the bread mixture, together with all the remaining ingredients.
  5. Turn the resultant batter into a well-greased loaf pan or 8” or 9” square (20 or 22.5 cm) baking tin or casserole dish and then bake it at 325°F (160°C) for around 60 minutes, or until the surface is golden brown.
  6. The pudding can be served hot, accompanied with warm custard or rum sauce (see below) or can be served cold, with ice cream or cream. It can also be served cold, cut into slices like bread.



You can also double the quantity, and turn the batter into a well-greased tubular cake tin or Bundt tin.

Rum Sauce

The sauce can be made as a pouring custard and rum added when the custard has cooled to warm* or can be made quickly as follows.

  • ½ cup of butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • ½ cup of half and half cream
  • 3 tbsp of rum or 3 tsp of rum essence
  1. Combine the butter, sugar and half and half in a heavy saucepan and cook over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Bring the mixture to the boil turn down the heat to Low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the sauce from the heat and let it cool.
  4. When the sauce is warm* rather than hot, stir in the rum.

* Alcohol evaporates away at 160°F [70°C].

Butterscotch Bread Pudding

Butterscotch Bread Pudding is a traditional Scottish recipe, especially popular as a dessert during ‘Hogmany’ the Scottish New Year celebration.

For the Bread Pudding:

  • 2/3 of a 1 lb loaf (approx 16 slices / 300g) of day-old bread, torn into small pieces
  • 1 quart (32 oz / l liter) of milk
  • ½ cup (4 oz / 120 g) of superfine / caster sugar
  • 1 stick (4 oz / 120 g) of butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 tsp (45 ml) of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (5 oz / 150 g) of butterscotch morsels

For the Butterscotch Topping:

  • 1½ cups (10.5 oz / 300g) of dark brown sugar
  • 8 tbsp (120 ml) of golden syrup
  • 1 2/3 cups (13½ oz / 400 ml) of water
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (180°C).
  2. Combine the bread, milk, sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir until the mixture breaks down to the consistency of thick porridge, then stir in the butterscotch morsels and pour the mixture into a buttered baking dish.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the brown sugar, syrup and water in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
  4. Carefully pour the hot syrup mixture over the bread mixture and bake in the center of the oven at 375°F (180°C) for about 1 hour, or until nearly set. (The surface of the pudding should ripple gently when shaken).
  5. The dessert can be served warm with hot custard or cold with ice cream or cream.

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