|Bread Pudding For the First Time
||[Dec. 4th, 2015|11:05 pm]
...it will not be the last. I had never made bread pudding before, and don't think I'd ever eaten it, but after seeing some on TV cooking shows, and hearing about it....
I could not get a picture taken before the spoon went in. This is bread pudding with diced Honeycrisp apple in it (about 5/8 of the apple, something over a cup of the diced apple, went in.
I looked at several recipes online. The one for apple bread pudding needed 10 cups of cubed bread; I didn't have that much. Two of them needed 6 cups of cubed bread; I had too much. The big recipe used 4 eggs, and the small one 2 eggs. So for the various amounts I kind of...felt my way.
2 cups milk
3 beaten eggs
1/2 cup plus a smidgen (having tasted the apples) of plain white sugar
1/4 cup butter
6 1/2 - 7 cups bread cubes
unmeasured (1-2 cups fit in that bowl) diced apple (small dice), unpeeled
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Brown sugar sprinkled on top.
The bread was almost half a loaf of supermarket bakery's "Country French" (a round-loafed bread we like a lot for sandwiches and toast)--it had gone a little hard on the outside because we'd been eating Thanksgiving leftovers. I left the crust on when I cut it up. Some cubes had crust on one side; some didn't.
I'd heard/read/been told that bread pudding was simple. I've been told that about things that weren't, too. But this...yes, once the prep was done--slicing the bread, dicing the apples--the rest was simple. Butter the casserole. Melt the butter in the milk as the milk warms, put that in a bowl, add the sugar and stir, let it cool a bit while dicing the apple and then lightly beating the three eggs in another bowl. Then all the liquids together, all the bread cubes and apple dice-bits into the casserole and pour the liquids over...push down into the liquid (and let it rise again.) Brown sugar on top, into the oven, wait. And wait. (Our oven is not the fastest oven in the world.) The smell...and then the flavor and texture and...I will be making this again.
My mother's version was sliced bread (as much as you've got that will go into a casserole dish of whatever size you have!), buttered (I think on both sides), with raisins or sultanas scattered over and between the slices. The custard then doesn't have to have any extra butter in it. She also made one with the bread spread with marmalade, instead of the raisins. I don't like either cooked raisins or marmalade, but apricot jam is rather nice instead.
I also make a savoury one, with buttered sliced bread, onions (if liked, chopped or in thin rings), sliced tomatoes, salt & pepper & nutmeg in the custard instead of sugar, and sprinkled heavily with grated cheese. Yum!
Sliced buttered bread is the way I make bread pudding. I have always assumed the use of sliced buttered bread comes from the British tradition of having that first at tea time before you were allowed to have bread and jam, then scones and finally cake, i twas also a British working class tradition to have bread and butter/marg on the table at all meals for filling up any gaps cheaply. The custard is not heated, just mixed and poured over then left to sit for at least half an hour; the sugar is mostly sprinkled over the top to give a crunchy topping. The sweetness comes from the dried fruit although I too avoid raisins and use dried cherries or blueberries with peel for a lovely bitter contrast. Bread pudding is very good made with leftover fancy breads like brioche, stollen or panetone if they are part of your Christmas tradition.
Mum's reminder 'rhyme' for setting the tea table was: "Bread, butter, sugar, milk; cups, saucers, spoons; breadboard, bread knife, little knife; teapot, tea in it, kettle on." We almost never put marge on our bread, only butter (I don't know if that was Mum's reaction to having to have marge during the war!). We didn't usually have scones, but we had to have at least one slice of bread and butter and 'something' - jam, possibly, but usually meat paste, or cheese spread, or Marmite, or something else savoury - before we could go on to cake or biscuits.
Incidentally, where I grew up, this is formally known as 'bread and butter pudding'. In other areas of the UK there's a thing called 'bread pudding' which appears to consist of completely soaked bread, possibly as large breadcrumbs, with a LOT of fruit in it, which is cooked and then sold cold, cut into squares. I think it's ghastly and avoid it like the plague.
Oh yes, bread and butter pudding is good, bread pudding is stodgy and slimy.
I definitely want to try a savory one. But not right away. Knitting is top of the fun activities at the moment.
I have a recipe for a savoury one - cheese pudding - on my blog, but linking to it caused LiveJournal to mark my comment as spam! Bother.
And yes, bread pudding and bread-and-butter pudding are two different things, although both equally delicious; the former is more like a cake and can be served hot or cold, while the latter is definitely a hot pudding (hot dessert, in American English). Delia Smith has a great bread pudding recipe.