When someone says 'Birmingham's traditional cuisine' you generally think Cadbury's chocolate, curry from the Balti Triangle, Bird's custard, HP sauce, pork scratchings and a dripping sandwich. These are all dishes or foods which we know quite well even today. You go a few miles down the road and you come to the Black Country - the traditional cuisine here ties closely with the area's industrial heritage and working class history. You come across dishes such as faggots and peas, groaty dick and grey peas & bacon. Dishes that are slightly less known to foreigners but now renowned across the whole Midlands. One of such dishes is definitely the bread pudding.
In the 18th and 19th century the bread pudding was one of the most filling dishes for people who would spend long hours every day working their hardest to earn a living. What's interesting is that back in the day the recipe would use water instead of milk, lard instead of butter and significantly less sugar (obviously).
So what do you need for this Black Country delicacy?
✓ 500g of white bread (any stale bread will do really)
✓ 500g mixed dried fruit
✓ 1 1/2 tbsp mixed spice
✓ 600ml milk
✓ 3 eggs (that is if you're using medium eggs, otherwise 2 large eggs will do too)
✓ 140g muscovado sugar (the light one will make the dough pale and the darker one will make it a little bit stickier and chocolate-looking)
✓ 100g melted butter (unsalted)
✓ demerara sugar (to sprinkle on top)
All you need to do is break up the bread in a large mixing bowl, add the fruit, spice, milk and mush it all up with your hands. Add beaten eggs, muscovado sugar and melted butter. Mix again. Pour the mixture in a baking dish and sprinkle some demerara sugar on top. Preheat the over to 180°C and bake for 1 1/2 hours until golden. Serve with custard or ice cream.
If you're interested in learning more about local dishes from the Midlands click here where you can read the #Travelodgefoodies series - and even get recommendations on where to go for the best local faggots and peas!