Cheese and Leek Bread Pudding with Cranks
Cranks and I go back a long way. The Dartington Cider Press branch, now Cranks Kitchen, opened many years ago, when I was at school. It was a very exciting prospect for an ever hungry bunch of teenagers and it was only a couple of hundred yards down the hill. We couldn’t afford much, but I do remember wolfing down a fair number of cheese baps and date slices. I have been a frequent visitor ever since. When I was invited to attend a new product launch event there a few week ago, I was not going to say no.
Cranks was a hippy vegetarian wholefood cafe that first opened its doors in Carnaby Street in 1961. It has been weathering the storms of foodie fashion ever since by staying true to the concept of its founder, David Canter – delicious food that is good for both body and soul. Cranks Kitchen is now the sole restaurant and it still cooks slow food using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. Much of the same food that was available to me back in the 1970s is still on the menu now. Latterly, Richard Corrigan has teamed up with Cranks’ bakery to create some new slow rise breads. As well as Carry on Carrot and Breaditerranean, there is one which particularly resonates with me: Hippity Hoppity is a cheese and potato bread inspired by the famous Cranks’ homity pie. I’ve been eating and enjoying homity pie for more years than I care to remember.
I was lucky enough to sit with Richard Corrigan and be entertained by his Irish wit and free flowing conversation throughout our meal. It was his suggestion to share a platter of food from the menu rather than each ordering our own individual meal. This was a great idea that immediately appealed to me, as I too like to try a little bit of everything. The staff coped with good will and grace to our unusual request and a large plate full of savoury bites and colourful salads soon appeared. Quite what we had has rather faded from memory now, but it was all very tasty. I know we had some homity pie, I’m not likely to forget that and I also know we had some of this savoury cheese and leek bread pudding.
The restaurant was packed with happy diners, mostly regular customers invited for the launch, which seems a particularly gracious way of saying thank you. The staff were cheerful and helpful, the food was excellent and we were all given a rather large goodie bag on arrival. The festive atmosphere was supported by a generous number of balloons – and there was cake. Cake always puts a smile on people’s faces and it certainly did on ours. Not a crumb remained by the time we left the table. The goodie bag contained a loaf of Cranks wholemeal, which incidentally is one of the nicest wholemeal loaves I’ve ever had; also included were a Hippity Hoppity loaf, a couple of bags of dried beans and excitingly, a new edition of Cranks Recipe Book by David Canter, first published in 1982.
I was so excited by the new Cranks recipe for savoury cheese and leek bread pudding, that I made some for supper the very next day. We were both rather hungry and I didn’t have time for pictures, so what you can see at the top of this post are the leftovers. These didn’t stay leftover for long; the pudding was almost as delicious cold as it was hot. We ate ours with purple sprouting broccoli – highly recommended.
As we were given a paper recipe card to take away, I am entering this into Recipe Clippings over at FarmersgirlKitchen
Likewise I am entering this into Jac’s Bookmarked Recipes over at Tinned Tomatoes.
As this is a fairly frugal meal, using up bits of old bread, I am entering this into Credit Crunch Munch with Michelle over at Utterly Scrummy Food for Families. This challenge is run by Fab Food 4 All and Fuss Free Flavours.
- 2 medium leeks - sliced
- 400g (14oz) Cranks Hippity Homity Loaf- sliced and cut into triangles (I used Cranks wholemeal loaf).
- 150g (5oz) cheddar cheese - grated
- 40g (1.5oz) salted butter
- 600ml (1 pint) milk
- 3 medium eggs
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp sea salt (I omitted this as I figured the cheese and butter were quite salty enough).
- Grease a 1.5l baking dish with a little butter. Melt the remaining butter in a frying pan and gently fry the leeks for about five minutes, until softened.
- Put a layer of bread in the base of the baking dish. Scatter half the leeks on top, then sprinkle with half the grated cheese. Arrange the remaining bread triangles over the surface, followed by the rest of the leeks.
- Beat the milk and eggs together and season to taste. Pour evenly over the bread, then sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Leave to stand for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C / 375°F / gas mark 5. Bake the pudding for 30 to 35 minutes, until puffed-up and golden brown.