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Chai-Infused Budin (Filipino bread pudding)

My mother was the Head Nurse at an aged care facility in Singapore and her team of nurses came from all over South-East Asia, notably the Philippines. I don’t remember much of this time except for budin – the Filipino version of the classic English bread pudding.

Every once in a while, one of Mum’s nurses would present my sister and I, a foil-wrapped parcel of this decadent dessert. For a pair of children growing up in a health-conscious household, this was a rare treat. The slab of rich, sweet budin would sit in our fridge and after school every afternoon, my sister and I would gingerly take slices out of it, making sure not to overindulge now, to leave some for the rest of the week. More often than not, we were unsuccessful in our rationing exercise.

There are many variations to budin, but the one I remember fondly is a smooth baked custard with a caramel sauce – a cross between bread pudding and flan. In classic The Chai Villain fashion, we have gone ahead and bastardised it. To all our Filipino friends, I’m sorry.

 

Caramel:

1 cup sugar

Splash of water

 

Bread pudding:

2 eggs

4 egg yolks

700ml strong-brewed chai (4 tbsp The Chai Villain’s Sticky Chai Blend and 800ml milk)

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

4 tbsp melted butter

7 slices day-old white bread (cubed)

 

  1. Make caramel by cooking 1 cup of sugar and a splash of water in a pan until it turns a golden amber colour. Immediately pour into the bottom of a loaf tin to coat, and set aside.
  2. Into a blender, dump 7 slices of cubed day-old white bread and 700ml of strong-brewed Chai (made with 4 tbsp The Chai Villain’s Sticky Chai Blend and 800ml milk). Let it soak for 10 minutes.
  3. Blend the bread and chai until smooth and then add 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, 4 tbsp melted butter, 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks. Blend until smooth.
  4. Pour the mixture into the caramel-bottomed pan and loosely tent with foil.
  5. Cook in a bain marie in a 150degree oven for 1.5 hours until fully set. Cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until set. Slice and enjoy!
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