1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
100g caster sugar
6 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp unsalted butter for greasing
250g brioche, torn into small pieces
100g walnuts, roughly chopped
50g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
To serve: stewed fruits, such as plums, apricots or cherries, and pouring cream
1Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2Combine milk, cinnamon, lemon zest, vanilla seeds and scraped pod in a saucepan. Bring mixture to the boil over a low heat, cover and allow the mixture to infuse for 15 minutes, then remove vanilla pod.
3Place sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk until well combined. Slowly add the cooled milk, whisking continuously until the mixture is smooth.
4Grease an earthenware dish with the butter, arrange the brioche pieces with the crusts facing upwards. Add the walnuts and hazelnuts, then add the egg and milk mixture, pouring over the top.
5Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until the top is beginning to brown.
6Serve warm or cold with stewed fruit and a couple of spoonfuls of pouring cream drizzled over the top.
As always, recommending a dessert wine to pair with a dessert is a combination of skill and good luck. It’s all about balancing the sweetness of the dessert with the residual sugar of the dessert wine. Here the lightness of the custard (milk, not cream) and subtleness of the brioche give a gentle sweetness to the pudding with the hazelnuts and walnuts adding a savoury tone. The Nektar’s botrytised flavours of apricot and cumquat match nicely with the poached fruit served with the pudding. The wine carries its 70g of grape sugars well with a tight thread of refreshing acidity keeping the finish fresh and bright. Definitely a lucky combination.