Simple and classic: bread & butter pudding

If you are at a loss for a dessert one evening, bread and butter pudding is a good choice because you probably already have most of the ingredients on hand.

It is best made early in the day, as the dessert needs to stand for an hour before it is put in the oven. And it shouldn't be served hot -- it needs time to cool to room temperature for best flavor.

This recipe comes from Terence and Caroline Conran's ''The Cook Book'' (Crown Publishers). Bread and Butter Pudding 6 slices well-buttered bread -- white, or raisin, with the crusts cut off Handful of raisins or sultanas 2 eggs 11/2 tablespoons sugar Large pinch of cinnamon 1 1/4 cups creamy milk Lay bread in layers, buttered side up, in a buttered pie dish, sprinkling fruit between slices. Beat together eggs, 1 tablespoon sugar, and cinnamon, then beat in milk. Pour over bread and leave to soak for an hour. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

Just before putting pudding in oven, sprinkle with remaining sugar and bake for 1 1/2 hours. It will puff up and top will become a delicious golden brown crust. Serves 4.

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