Sunday, January 16, 2011
The Proof’s in the Bread Pudding
Today, though, in an empty nest household, stale bread happens a lot more than I’d like, no matter how carefully I think I plan. I often freeze extra bread, sometimes make crumbs with the older stuff, but this time, I decided to make bread pudding. Just the name conjures up all kinds of cozy images and good cinnamon-y smells. I think I can smell a fresh cup of coffee along with it.
Many of the bread pudding recipes I’ve looked at asked for “stale Italian bread” or offered “ciabatta is best,” but they all said any stale bread will do. I think freezer burn is close to stale so I dug out a package of hot dogs buns that have been sitting in the freezer since Labor Day “just in case.” Here's my case.
A recipe from a beautiful blog, The Meaning of Pie, was my inspiration. The only things I did differently than Kelly was to sprinkle the dried cranberries and chopped walnuts (Christmas baking leftovers) over the milk soaked bread cubes before pouring the eggs over the mixture. I did let my hot dog buns sit on the counter naked so they would be drier. And I added a luscious and gooey vanilla sauce, so good I could have eaten it alone with a spoon. (Just a couple.) Eating the warm bread pudding, topped with the warm vanilla sauce and that hot cup of coffee almost makes winter worthwhile. Next time, though, I'm thinking some brandy-soaked raisins would be nice. And a little brandied-coffee, too. That sounds like a real warmer-upper.
from The Meaning of Pie
About 4 cups (or more) torn bread, any leftover dried out bread you may have
2 cups milk
1 cup half and half
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of salt
½ stick butter
Topping: ¼ cup granulated sugar, ½ teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a casserole dish and fill it with torn bread. In a small saucepan, heat the milk, half-and-half, sugar, cinnamon, salt and butter until just melted and combined. Pour the milk over the torn bread and let it sit for about five minutes, being sure to submerge any bread pieces. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and then pour over the bread. Carefully fold the eggs into the bread mixture until they’re well incorporated.
For the topping, mix the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over the top of the filled casserole.
To bake, use a water bath. Place the bread pudding dish in a pan large enough to hold it and place them together in the preheated oven. Very carefully, pour boiling water into the larger dish so it comes halfway up the sides of the bread pudding dish. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out (pretty) clean.
½ cup butter
½ cup granulated white sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
Bring all the ingredients except the vanilla to a boil in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.