We had friends for dinner on Sunday and I made a typically English dessert, bread and butter pudding! I am sure there are very similar puddings everywhere in the world where people make tasty things out of left overs, basically stale bread, milk, eggs, a little sugar and maybe some dried fruit.
Coincidentally there was a conversation on another site I follow and Bridgwater was mentioned – we love visiting Bridgwater and always find something interesting to see there; however this post mentioned the Bridgwater manchip, a cross between a lardy cake and a doughnut which sounded very yummy if rather fattening! No-one knows where the name came from even though there was a Mayor of the town called Thomas Manchip, the word manchip/manchet/maunchett and many other variations has been around since the Middle Ages.
It rang a bell with me, and looking through some old cookery books I came across one from lady Elinor Fettiplace, a sixteenth century lady and collector of recipes. In essence her recipe is for a bread and butter pudding, but using manchet crumbs, so I guess there would be less texture than in the sort of dessert we would make!
Take one top of the morning milke & a good deal of grated manchet and some flower, but not so much flower as bread, then put in three eggs yolks & whites, some cloves and mace, % a little salte, some great Raisins, a good piece of butter melted, so temper all this well together, let it bee somewhat thicker than butter, so bake it, & serve it
I might try this some time, grating the bread, and thickening the mixture with flour; I like the idea of mace and cloves to spice it – I am not keen at all on cinnamon and soften b&B pudding has it sprinkled all over!