AGA baked white chocolate brioche pudding - a recipe

We were delighted to be asked to contribute a recipe for Menu Dorset's recent baking addition (issue 16). Company director and chef Ali Smith created this recipe for the magazine.

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White Chocolate Brioche pudding with baked rhubarb

With their cast iron oven construction Aga / Rayburns retain more moisture than a conventional oven during the cooking process, resulting in a more flavoursome and tender finished product. Even with a 2–oven model, such as the family Oil DON conversion AGA used here, superior baking can be accomplished using the cold-shelf.

This is a truly indulgent bread and butter pudding – perfect for a dinner party.  Baked in any AGA / Rayburn model, the pudding will be meltingly soft with a crisp satisfying crust but should you not have a traditional range at your disposal, it will work equally well in a conventional oven.

Change the fruit according to the seasons.

For the brioche pudding

550g brioche (about ½ loaves), thickly sliced

400ml milk

660ml cream

130g caster sugar

3 whole eggs

8 egg yolks

270g good quality white chocolate

For the baked rhubarb

800g rhubarb

100g caster sugar

1 vanilla pod (optional)

4tbsp water

For the brioche pudding:

1. Lightly beat together the eggs, yolks and sugar in a large bowl; break up the chocolate well and add to the egg mix. Bring the milk and cream almost to the boil and gradually pour over the eggs and chocolate, stirring continually. Continue to stir until all the chocolate is melted. Pour through a sieve.

2. Grease a 2 ltr baking dish. Lay the brioche in the dish, each slice overlapping the last, leaving pockets for the rich custard to fill.  Lay the second layer in the opposite direction.

3. Pour the custard over the brioche, filling in all the gaps. Half fill the dish then press the brioche into the custard to cover. Leave to soak for at least 10 minutes (up to an hour is preferable). Fill the dish with the remaining custard.

4. Loosely cover with a tent of foil, leaving room for the pudding to soufflé a little.

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For a 4 oven Aga: Place the dish on the grid shelf on the floor of the Baking Oven. Bake for 45 minutes or until lightly set. Remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes to brown.

For a 2 oven Aga: Place the dish on the grid shelf on the floor of the Roasting Oven and a cold plain shelf on the second runners down. Bake for 45 minutes or until lightly set. Remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes to brown.

For a conventional oven: Bake at 170°/ Gas Mark 3 ½ for 30minutes or until lightly set. Remove the foil; turn up the oven to 180° / Gas Mark 4 and bake for a further 15 minutes until brown.

For the rhubarb:

  1. Cut the rhubarb into batons 2- 4cm long depending on the thickness of the stalks. Place in a baking dish. Sprinkle with the sugar; add the vanilla seeds and pod and the water. 

  2. Place in the Aga as described above or in a conventional oven at 170° / Gas Mark 3 ½ for 15 minutes or until softened but still holding its shape.

  3. Serve warm with the bread and butter pudding , drizzling with the rhubarb juices to finish.