Challah bread and butter pudding with poached pears and apricots

Challah bread and butter pudding with poached pears and apricots

Elisa Watson

Despite its name there’s no butter in this recipe. Challah – Friday night bread – is rich enough on its own, and paired with home-made egg custard, it’s extremely decadent. For best results, prepare the challah and custard the day before. Make sure you serve this warm with lashings of vanilla bean ice cream.


Quantity Ingredient
1 challah loaf, about 550g
7 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
60ml sherry
750ml thick ( double/heavy) cream
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
90g sultanas (golden raisins)
180g dried apricots
185g light brown sugar
butter, for greasing
55g coconut flakes, to garnish (optional)
4 tablespoons apricot jam
vanilla bean ice cream, to serve

Poached pears

Quantity Ingredient
8 pears, quartered and seeded
185g light brown sugar
2 teaspoo ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Candied oranges

Quantity Ingredient
2 oranges
460g caster (superfine) sugar


  1. Tear the challah loaf into pieces, approximately 8 cm long.
  2. Make a custard by whisking together the eggs, egg yolks, sherry and cream in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla paste, cinnamon, sultanas, apricots and sugar.
  3. Mix the challah into the custard, then transfer the mixture to an airtight container with a lid. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight. This will allow the bread to soak up the custard.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  5. To make the poached pears, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan with 625 ml (21 floz/2½ cups) water. Bring to the boil, removing any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the pears for 15 minutes, until they are soft when pierced with a knife. Cut the pear pieces in half.
  6. To assemble the pudding, lightly grease a 25 cm ovenproof dish. Take the challah and custard out of the fridge and give it a mix. Place half the mixture in the dish and lay the pear pieces on top. Spread the rest of the challah and custard mixture over the pears.
  7. Bake in the oven for 1–1½ hours.
  8. To check if the pudding is cooked, gently push the centre. No custard should seep out. The top of the pudding should be browned and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 170°C if you are using the coconut flakes, otherwise switch off.
  9. While the pudding is cooking, prepare the candied oranges. Cut the oranges horizontally into 4 mm round slices. You should have approximately 28 slices.
  10. Combine the sugar with 750 ml water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir gently for 5 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved. Add the orange slices, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1½ hours. The liquid should have reduced to a syrup consistency. Transfer the orange slices to a wire rack with baking paper underneath to catch any syrup.
  11. Spread the coconut flakes, if using, on a baking tray lined with baking paper, then transfer to the oven and toast for 3–4 minutes, tossing halfway through. Keep an eye on the flakes as they can burn easily.
  12. Pass the apricot jam through a fine-meshed sieve into a small saucepan. Heat gently over low heat for 2–3 minutes. Glaze the pudding with the jam while both are still warm.
  13. To finish the pudding, lay the candied oranges on top and scatter with the toasted coconut flakes, if using. Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream.
Jewish cooking
Chicken soup
Yom kippur
Dinner party
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