Family Recipe Friday: grandma’s bread pudding

In the early 1960s when I was a very young child my mum and I used to visit my grandparents, Fred and Esther Neville, on Saturday afternoons. We travelled by bus to the Crooked Billet in Walthamstow and then we must have walked along Billet Road to their house which ( I think)  was number 349.

Anne with F & E Neville103

One of my memories of these visits is the wonderful rich fruity smell of bread pudding baking in the oven. My grandma used to make it regularly and it was a real treat – dark and moist, packed with dried fruit, warm with spices and topped with a liberal sprinkling of sugar.

The photo shows me aged about 3, with my granddad, Fred, and my grandma, Esther, on holiday at Canvey Island.  We probably took a bread pudding with us!

Grandma’s bread pudding recipe wasn’t written down but this is a good approximation of a real old-fashioned bread pudding:

  • 8 oz/225 g stale (at least a day old) bread, broken up into smallish pieces

  • 1/2 pt/300ml cold water

  • 3 oz/75g soft brown sugar

  • 1 egg (beaten)

  • 2 oz/50g currants

  • 2 oz/50g raisins

  • 1/4 pt/150ml milk

  • 1/4 tsp mixed spice  (I use more than this to get more flavour)

Put the bread in a bowl and add the cold water.

Allow to soak for 1 hr.

Drain the bread and squeeze out any excess water (using your hands!)

Mix the bread with the rest of the ingredients.

Pour into a greased 8″ square baking tin

Cook at 180C/gas 4 for 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 hours until firm to the touch and brown on top.

Allow to cool for 30 mins or so in the tin, before cutting into squares.

Serve warm or cold.

I’ve since learned that bread pudding is regarded as a traditional treat from London’s East End – but I enjoyed it long before I knew anything about my family history. Going to grandma’s always meant a slice or two of just-warm, spicy bread pudding. I loved it – and still do, although we don’t have much stale bread these days!

About familyhistoryfootsteps

I have been researching my family history for several years. I'm particularly interested in social history and enjoy learning about, and trying to understand the context of our ancestors' lives. From the mid 1800s onwards most of my direct ancestors lived and worked in London.
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4 Responses to Family Recipe Friday: grandma’s bread pudding

  1. Caroline says:

    Yum, bread pudding! it’s an old family favourite here too. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Ashley Elton (Mrs) says:

    Yes, I remember Bread Pudding. My Grandad used to make it and my Mum had it as a little girl. She said it was made to use up all the stale bread during the war – WASTE NOT WANT NOT!!

  3. Glenn Carter says:

    Had this as child made by my Mum from a recipe she got from my nana from Charlton in South London. My Dad and my 3 brothers and used to love it and never had it enough!

  4. Patricia Ann Kelly says:

    Not just the east end my Nan made this all her life and she was born and lived in Chelsea London

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