Bread pudding can probably be classified as a universal, traditional comfort food.
Through the ages, people have been loathe to waste food. Bread – the staff of life – is found in most homes and bread pudding is a perfect use for stale bread. Bread pudding can be assembled well ahead of time, put aside to absorb the custard (milk and eggs), and baked shortly before serving. A bread pudding served straight from the oven will be hot and puffed up, but it settles after a while. It is delicious served hot or cold – with or without cream or ice cream. Sometimes a caramel or syrupy sauce is served with the pudding
By using different ingredients, bread pudding can be kept plain and basic, or enhanced to change it into a special dinner dessert. The basic bread pudding is often used for invalid feeding, where the patient needs a high protein diet. More exotic bread puddings could include liquor, or dried fruit soaked in liquor, chocolate chips and/or nuts. Although bread pudding is generally thought of as a sweet dessert, there are savory variations as well, where the bread pudding would be served as a side with meat or vegetables.
This recipe is a basic bread pudding dessert with a few enhancements – butter and raisins. It is quick and easy to make, using basic ingredients that one would usually have in stock. It is also an ideal dessert for cooler weather when one may be doing more oven cooking. When making a stew, bredie or even soup, add your pudding and rice to the oven as well – let them all cook together!
- 3 slices white bread
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup seedless raisins
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Spread the bread liberally with the butter and cut into 1-inch blocks.
- Layer into a 1.5-quart (6 cup) capacity bowl, with the raisins.
- Whisk the sugar, salt, eggs, milk and vanilla together to blend.
- Pour over the bread and set aside to soak for at least 30 minutes.
- Place in a water bath (a larger dish with about 2 inches of warm water) and bake at 350˚F for 50-60 minutes until the custard has set and the pudding is lightly browned on top.
Fruits - dried, canned or fresh - can be added and even steeped in wine, brandy or liqueur for a more exotic dessert.
Granola, nuts, chocolate chips and different spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon or mace can be added.
In this recipe, the zest of a lemon could replace the vanilla extract.