Luxury Amaretto Bread Pudding

This recipe is adapted from the 'Queen of Puddings' by Sarah Flower (The Everyday Halogen Oven Cookbook, buy it here). It is not just the ordinary, budget bread pudding, since it is enriched with jam and an irresistible meringue top layer.It is also enhanced with a rotund amaretto-like flavour. If you do not favour it, you can always use the vanilla extract recommended in the original recipe.
Like almost always, I made some changes. As I said, I used almond flavour instead of vanilla; I also used blueberry jam instead of raspberry...but as Sarah Flower says...any jam will do.
The original recipe uses butter; since I do not use this ingredient, I substituted organic margarine, but I would strongly recommend butter if you do not have any issues with it. Flavour will be no doubt
much better.

I also changed slightly the procedure. The author recommends boiling the milk together with the butter almost to boiling point. Since I used margarine and it is usually not recommended to boil or scorch it, I simply heated the milk a little and added the margarine at the end to get it melted.
So this is my particular version of the Queen of Puddings by Sarah Flower. 

INGREDIENTS (for one medium of two small puddings. Serves 4-6)

90g half-stale white bread, cubed
100g caster sugar
400ml milk
1 tsp almond flavour
45g organic margarine
2 medium to large eggs
3 tbsp blueberry jam


Preheat your convection oven to 180ºC (approx. 350ºF) or use  the BAKE setting (If your oven has a PREHEAT setting, use it).

Mix the cubed bread with 45g sugar in a medium bowl.

Heat the milk just a little and then add the margarine in small pieces. When almost melted, turn the heat off and add the almond flavour.

Separate the eggs, taking care so that not even a speck of yolk gets into the whites. You do not want it to prevent your meringue from being perfect.

Grease your ovenproof dish or mould. I used two small silicone moulds. I could have skipped the greasing in fact, but I didn't. I used margarine.

Now we're ready to start mixing ingredients!

Pour the flavoured milk with the margarine over the sugared bread in the medium bowl.

Add the egg yolk and mix or whisk until well combined. Don't bother to beat  the egg yolks prior to mixing, it's not necessary. I use a manual potato masher to get a good result suitable to my tastes...if you want a very smooth result, use an electric hand mixer or anything you are used to.

Pour this very runny mixture into the greased mould or moulds. Do not worry, it won't rise much in the oven; anyway don't fill the moulds to the rim just in case.

Place on the low rack of your convection oven. Use the special tongs so that you won't get injured by the high temperatures of the oven. Set the time to 35 minutes.

After 35 minutes, you can start preparing the toppings.

Melt the jam on low heat so that it is more fluid and spreadable. Take the lid off your oven, place it in a secure place and spread the jam on the top of your pudding or puddings. I use a kitchen silicone brush.

In a medium bowl or a deep dish, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Then gradually whisk in the remaining caster sugar, until the mixture is thicker and glossy.

Spoon this meringue over the jam. Take care not to get drippings into the oven.

Replace the oven lid and cook for another 8-10 minutes.

Again  with the dedicated tongs, take the tray with the puddings out of the oven and put it on a cooling tray.

Eat warm if you want. Alternatively, place it in the fridge after 1-2 hours of room temperature cooling. I like it next day  right from the refrigerator.

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