What is a cheese pudding, you ask? It's the savoury equivalent of a bread and butter pudding (which forms the base of a Queen of puddings). It's a poor relation of a cheese soufflé - and much, much easier to make. Essentially it's nursery food or a light supper, and it's a great way to use up the last couple of slices of a Grant loaf (though you can use any bread, to be honest) plus any odd bits of cheese that might be knocking around in your fridge. Here I used one third red leicester to two thirds mature cheddar, and it was divine.
The key is to cook it gently in the oven, in this case in a bain marie (a fancy term for a pan of hot water), the same way you would cook crème caramels or any other oven-baked egg custards. Note: because cheese and milk are involved, it is likely that there will be some separation where whey forms when you cut into it. This whey is entirely edible but doesn't look great when serving. Just drain it away - or cook the pudding in individual dishes.
Ring the changes by adding a small amount of frozen spinach (defrosted, squeezed dry, and then chopped) along with a grating of nutmeg or a small amount of leek (cleaned and finely sliced, then sautéed in a little butter until softened) to the milk and egg mixture. Even a few freshly picked thyme leaves would make a nice addition.
Serves 3 with a salad or some vegetables. Like a soufflé, best eaten straight away.
1 large or 2 small eggs
1 pint of milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
a shake of white pepper or cayenne powder
1 generous cup of coarse fresh breadcrumbs
100g grated cheese (a mixture works brilliantly)
1 small spring onion, finely sliced or a little grated onion
a pinch or two of smoked paprika (optional)
Beat together the eggs, milk, and the salt and pepper.
Thoroughly mix in the grated cheese and the onion into the crumbs.
Place the crumb mixture in an ovenproof dish and pour over the milk and eggs.
Chill it in the fridge for an hour or two so the crumbs will soften.
Preheat your oven to 160ºC.
Place 3 - 4 sheets of kitchen towel on top of each other (or an old folded tea towel) in the base of a roasting tin, pop your pudding dish on top, then add an inch or so of boiling water to the roasting tin (this is your bain marie).
Sprinkle the top of the pudding with a little smoked paprika (if using) and carefully slide the tin into the oven.
Cook for 45 - 50 minutes or so until the custard has set.
Slide the tin carefully out of the oven, remove the pudding dish, and serve.
Any questions? You can use the comments form at the bottom of the page.
Did you know?
You'll find recipes at the back of all the books in the Send for Octavius Guy series: