Ginger and pears are a match made in heaven and in this twist on an old classic they work beautifully.
¼ cup sugar
1 thumb ginger, sliced
3 beurre bosc pears, peeled
12 slices wholemeal grainy bread, crusts removed
¼ cup softened butter, plus extra for greasing
½ cup ginger marmalade
3 egg yolks
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1–2 tablespoons demerara sugar
whipped cream, to serve
Butter a 20cm x 28cm baking dish (or 2 x 18cm round dishes).
Put 5 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Add sugar to the water, whisk to dissolve, then add ginger and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add peeled pears. Cook for 5 minutes if almost ripe, 10 if firm, and 15 if hard. Remove from the heat and leave pears to cool in the light syrup.
Butter the bread and spread with marmalade, halving each piece into triangles. Fill the dish with bread, leaving plenty of edges poking up to go crunchy. Remove the pears from the poaching liquid and slice each pear into 6 wedges through the stem. Nestle the pear wedges between the bread.
Beat eggs, yolks, sugar, ginger, milk and cream together, then pour over the bread. If you have excess custard mix, leave the bread for 10 minutes as it will soak up and you can add more. Leave to sit for 30 minutes then sprinkle with demerara sugar.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Bake pudding for 45 minutes until the custard is set and the exposed bread is golden and crunchy. Rest for 10 minutes before serving with whipped cream. Serves 8.