meatballs Sunday dinner, I figured I'd make good use of the leftover crusty bread.
I've always liked bread pudding. I'm pretty sure that I had it for the first time at my grandparent's home way back in the day. It's a lovely, inexpensive, and easy dessert that in many ways reminds me of French toast. If you don't like raisins, you can absolutely substitute another dried or fresh fruit (or even chocolate) and get great results. I love to serve it with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Oh, and it absolutely must be served warm.
You'll find bread pudding in a lot of "down home" restaurants, but sometimes it's too gelatinous, too mushy, or too sweet. I like mine buttery and crunchy around the edges with a soft interior. So far, this recipe from The Neely's is my favorite. There are only two people in my home, so we usually cut the recipe in half and bake it in a 1 quart oval baker. These little lovelies come in handy for those of us who are single or married without kids:
So, let's say you enjoyed some crusty bread with dinner, but you still have half the loaf left...
Put some milk, cinnamon, butter, rum, cinnamon, vanilla, and brown sugar in a saucepan on the stove and heat it until it simmers lightly and the sugar is dissolved.
It doesn't look pretty, but it smells great. Dice the bread up and toss it in the hot milk mixture.
Let it soak for about 30 minutes. Don't stir it. You don't want to break up the crusty bread chunks. Just go find something else to do. Or get your baking dish ready and your oven preheated.
After 30 minutes have passed, your bread will soak up the milk like a sponge. This is when you gently fold in the beaten eggs.
Pour the whole thing into a prepared baking pan and pop it in the oven for about 40 minutes. When it's finished you'll have this:
Your home will smell like Christmas and Thanksgiving. You'll be happy. Everyone will be happy. You'll serve yourself a helping with some whipped cream or ice cream or both.
The best part? It's the perfect recession dessert (it's affordable and most casual bakers have all the ingredients in the pantry) and it's a great use of leftovers. Sounds like a winner to me!
Rum Raisin Bread Pudding
from Down Home with the Neelys
3 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons rum
1/2 cup raisins
7 (1/2-inch) slices brioche bread, cubed or torn
4 eggs, beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large saucepan, add milk, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, brown sugar, rum and raisins and heat until warm. Simmer and stir until sugar dissolves.
Into a large bowl add the cubed bread and pour in the hot milk mixture. Let sit for 30 minutes so the bread absorbs the milk.
Add the beaten eggs to the bread and milk mixture and stir. Pour bread pudding into a buttered 1 1/2-quart baking dish and bake for 50 minutes.