Bread pudding is a wintry tradition in our house. It’s a homey dish that uses leftover bread. Mix it with milk, eggs, dried fruit and nuts,
let it soak and bake. Done.
Years ago, I bought a fluted mold from England to bake my bread pudding. I swirl melted butter inside and then sprinkle it with a little sugar. The mold gives the pudding a nice shape.
The idea is to reuse bread in a creative way. Of course, when the six kids were home, we didn’t have leftover bread. So, I bought bread, cut it into cubes and either let it dry out or bake in the oven for a while to accelerate the process. I actually do the same now, since there are only the two of us, and we don’t eat much bread. I prefer bread with substance like a sourdough or whole wheat. I also use so-called raw sugar found in our local natural foods store.
I don’t measure when I make bread pudding. (The same goes for pies.) But for the purposes of this blog, I did, more or less, when I made bread pudding to take to a Christmas Day dinner. Here goes.
5 cups bread, cubed and dried
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
3 cups milk
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup almonds, cut lengthwise
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
Place cubed bread in a large bowl. Mix in 1 cup sugar, milk, beaten eggs and 1/4 cup melted butter. Add spice, nuts, and dried fruit. Press the mixture with a wooden spoon to break down the bread a bit. Let sit 15 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, prepare the mold as I described above using the rest of the melted butter and sugar. If you use a baking dish, butter it.
Bake the pudding covered at 350 degrees for an hour or so. (I set the mold in a pan of water.) Let the pudding cool completely before unmolding. If you bake it in a dish, cut it in squares.
Now what in the heck does it mean “the proof of the pudding is in the eating?” To truly test something you need to experience it first hand. In other words, don’t take another person’s word for it. That includes baking bread pudding.