Grandad’s Bread Pudding

My Grandad could cook, this was quite an achievement for a man born in 1914, it wasn’t usual. However, Grandad was a widower for a long time so that might explain it. I always thought that he learnt to cook in the army during the war although Grandad did not talk much about the war and until my parent gets her act together and requests his army records then it will remain shrouded in mystery.

What isn’t shrouded in mystery is Grandad’s bread pudding. He made the best bread pudding ever. Bread Pudding is different things in different countries, the stuff that Grandad made was stodgy comforting and full of spice, with a crisp sugary top. Some people eat it with custard but I like it best cold with a cup of tea or coffee.

When he was in hospital and sick, I asked him if he could give me the recipe. He laughed quite a lot about that, he didn’t have a recipe, although if he had written it down, I doubt that I would have been able to read his left handed scrawl (something I share!). Eventually I found a recipe in Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course for Old Fashioned Bread Pudding and showed it to Grandad, who made some adjustments (mostly in putting more spice in it) and this is how I always make it now. You can use brown or white bread and you can use any type you like, although in this recipe I have only ever used the sliced white mass produced stuff.


8oz (225g) bread, with the crusts cut off

10fl oz (275ml) milk

2oz (50g) butter, melted

3oz (75g) sugar and a couple of tablespoons for scattering over the top (any type you like, I use unrefined caster sugar in most things)

1 jar mixed spice (38g)

1 egg, beaten

6oz (175g) dried mixed fruit (currant, raisins, sultanas, candied peel)


Pre heat oven to 180°C (Gas Mark 4, 350°F)

Break up bread into small pieces, place in bowl and cover with the milk.

Mix it a bit and put it to one side for 15-20 minutes.

After 15-20 minutes, give the bread and milk a really good mix so the bread is more like a paste.

Add the egg, butter, spice, sugar and dried fruit and combine.

Put the mixture into a 20cm x 20cm (8×8 inches) pan and cover with sugar.

Bake in the oven for an hour and 15 minutes.

Leave to cool and eat cold with a cup of tea!

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31 Responses to Grandad’s Bread Pudding

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  4. KL says:

    It worked! Thanks for the recipe. Not exactly like my Mum’s but a good starting point.

    • nicdempsey says:

      Everyone has a different way of making it! I’m glad it worked for you, when you have it the way your mum did it, please come back and tell me what’s different from this version!

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  7. Just taken it out of the oven and already had two pieces, I couldn’t wait for it to cool down. I haven’t had bread pudding for over twenty years, since my parents would occasionally get it at the local Sunday market. I had looked on YouTube for a recipe, but all the videos entitled bread pudding were more like bread & butter pudding, this is much closer to the stuff I remember. I did change the recipe very slightly, using cinnamon instead of mixed spice and only 15g plus a little sprinkled on top, rather than 38g, I think next time, I’ll just use saltanas, rather than mixed fruit, because the stuff I remember didn’t have the citrus taste and I’m fairly sure it was just some form of dried grape.

    Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe, this is an excellent starting point for me to work towards the bread pudding from the market.

    • nicdempsey says:

      I’m glad it’ll help get you towards the recipe you remember! I’ve made it with just sultanas and most of the versions you can buy do but it was missing something for me, because Grandad used mixed fruit. I would imagine that a tub of cinnamon would be a bit much! Mixed spice is less overwhelming in the recipe which is why I use more. Have fun experimenting (and eating!)

  8. Marilyn says:

    As a child I remember my mum making bread pudding in a large roasting pan that was full to the top – I loved coming home from school and smelling it cooking. She use to run a fork over the top of the uncooked pudding making it quite rough before sprinkling on the Demerara suger. I have just recently discovered Delia’s recipe and have made it several times and now my family gets to enjoy it.
    On a recent trip to London I bought a couple of slices from a market that sold baked goods – my husband and I thought they were delicious.

  9. Maggieann says:

    My mum always soaked the bread in water then wrung out the excess, so other recipes always pose me a dilemma! This morning I have used half and half. As for fruit, I use whatever I have and today’s has sultanas raisins, cherries and a couple of spoons full of mincemeat.
    I, like my mum before me, never measure any of the ingredients but it always works out well and my family used to love it. I live alone now and have made it because I inadvertently bought too much bread, so I’m taking it into work later and I know it will be much appreciated.
    I never waste the crusts by the way! I was born at the end of WW2 and was brought up with the “waste not want not” ethic, something which I still live by even now!

    • nicdempsey says:

      The joy of most things you grow up eating and then as an adult, cooking, are that they are so individual, everyone who’s used this recipe has used it as a starting point for creating the recipe that works for them or is like they remember it. My Grandad fought in WW2 and was pretty frugal but he cut the crusts off and so that’s what I do. I turn the crusts into breadcrumbs for other things! But I’m glad I’m not the only one who has a family recipe…

  10. Yvonne Hill says:

    Gorgeous bread pudding,I only use half a jar of mixed spice,and put some cranberries in it as well,like one of the previous comments my sister used to soak the bread (not sure what in,as she has died)and squeeze it out) I had lost her recipe,and this is the nearest to it from what I can remember,have got it in the oven at present and such a lovely smell as it cooks.thank you

  11. William's Gran says:

    So interesting to read these recipes, have been trying to recreate my Mum’s recipe for the last year or so and have tried umpteen different versions, I do remember that the bread was always soaked in water rather than milk, and that she sometimes used suet ( prefer not to myself) but melted butter works just as well. Like you, prefer much more mixed spice than Delia suggests and also like to include candied peel but of course all these things are down to individual taste. Was intrigued to just come across a recipe not using eggs but cannot bring myself to leave them out. My Mum was also liberal with the sugar crust which adds to the appearance I think, as well as the taste. Thanks to everyone for their comments, always helpful

  12. Philippe says:

    In respect for someone who served our country during WW2 and to keep the recipe alive I’m going for it today ☺and cooking your Grandfather’s recipe; if it goes ‘pear shape’ then I blame myself not him 😂

  13. Mary says:

    Soaking in cold tea and milk works too! My family love bread pudding and it disappears in no time at all.

  14. Liz says:

    Thank you Nic. I am here in Australia and it is 44 degrees Celsius today so I didn’t want to go out for any more supplies. Had some rye sourdough bread that was getting a bit stale that I wanted to use up but only one egg. Came across your recipe and thought I would give it a try. It turned out really well, though I had to replace some of the milk with a bit of sour cream, and I only had cinnamon and flame raisins – also added a few walnuts and pecans. Just to use up the things I had. I did keep the crusts in and it was great. Thanks again and I will enjoy following your blog in the future now that I have found it. I also like growing my own vegies (though lucky enough to have raised vegie beds my husband has built around our pool – as this is behind the pool fence it means the two german shepherds we have cannot get in and destroy our plants). Got a lot going well at the moment, as it is summer here, but this heat may be the end of my tomatoes I fear. Best of luck with all yours in the future. Liz

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  17. Sue says:

    Oh, that’s made me smile. ☺
    My mum laughed too when I asked for her recipe… “I dunno, I just do it…” 😄
    I tracked down a Delia recipe too, but it wasn’t the same. Then I remembered seeing my mum tip in a whole tubful of mixed spice, just like your grandad.
    She had to watch the pennies back then and I think she made it with lard (ugh)… think I’ll stick with butter. 😄

    • nicdempsey says:

      Butter makes everything better! It strange given that spice wouldn’t have been cheap that they were so extravagant with it! But when it works, it works!

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  21. Heather says:

    I love just reading the comments on this page. The whole point of bread pudding was to use what ingredients you had left over or to hand like using water instead of milk etc. I’ve used water because i was short of milk and suet instead of butter for the same reason . All these comments because of your Grandads recipe how lovely, I’m still smiling while my bread is soaking in the milk this time, and I know we will always enjoy it. Thank you for the memorys. Heather

  22. Debbie says:

    Hooray, I’ve found a recipe that sounds like Mum’s! I’ve only ever found the bread and butter type recipe until now. I’ve read through all the comments and every single one has my emotions and tastebuds flowing. I’m SO happy. Now i live in Kenya and have recently started freezing my ‘leftover’ bread for the dogs as they love cold treats in the equatorial heat here, but that’ll have to stop now as that bread is mine! I’ve checked my cupboard and I’m missing the fruit so I’m off to the shops right now! Toodle pip!

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