Bread and butter pudding is pure comfort. We like it with
ice-cream - that combination of hot and cold is hard to beat.
Prepare it ahead and have it ready to go in the oven when it's time
400 mlmilk350 mlpouring cream1vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped7egg yolks150 gmcaster sugar1½small (650gm each) sourdough fruit loaves, unsliced150 gmfirm ricotta140 gmdark chocolate (65%-70% cocoa solids)Finely grated rind of 1 orangeDutch-process cocoa, for dusting
Bring milk, cream and vanilla bean and seeds to a simmer in a saucepan. Meanwhile, whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl until pale. Add hot milk mixture, stirring to combine well, then cool (15-20 minutes).
Cut ends off loaves and thickly slice bread. Cut each slice in half diagonally, then brush with custard to moisten. Arrange bread in a 2-litre baking dish, crust sides up. Pour remaining custard over the top and stand, occasionally pressing down lightly so bread absorbs custard (30-40 minutes).
Preheat oven to 160C. Dot ricotta and chocolate over the bread, scatter with orange rind and bake until golden on top and custard is thick and set (30-35 minutes; cover with foil if top starts to brown too much). Serve warm.