Designed to please a variety of audiences, this simple, warm delight will make use of the odds and ends in your pantry contents. It’s a cuisine enjoyed all over the world from Britain to Puerto Rico, and many Creole and Southern adaptations exist. But do not be fooled, this dessert is not the gelatinous, wiggly pudding that the typical American cafeteria would have you think.
Bread pudding is a category all its own; the best description being: baked, sweet-soaked bread with an assortment of other dried fruits, nuts and liqueurs or extracts. With the bread pudding I’ve made, you can still pull apart some of the chunks of bread, though as it cooks it should mold together. It makes use of a lot of flavors, and will last you a while. Be sure to add the sugary bourbon sauce, as it kicks the flavor up at least a few notches. So share with your friends, and tell them this pudding the kind that you pack in your kid’s lunch boxes.
My recipe was adapted from the New Orleans School of Cooking; a quintessential recipe to my family, especially with Caribbean or Creole dishes. I used what was left over from a birthday present [the best kind, food!], the greater part of a dense loaf of Cranberry Orange Bread, but a loaf of French or Italian Bread would work just as well, just add more sugar in that case [about 1-2 c]. Add any kind of fruit you want, raisins are commonly added. I didn’t add them because there were cranberries in the bread already. Dried apricots or cherries could also be a delicious addition. Also, check with the liquids. If too much liquid is added, it won’t become a solid mold. But without enough, you will end up eating croutons. Some interesting liquids to substitute for milk: cream, Pina Colada mix [my favorite!], other flavored liqueurs or extracts.
6-8 c stale bread, about a loaf
¾ c sugar
¼ c milk ** may need to add more as it cooks
8 T butter, melted
2 T vanilla
¾ c coconut, sweetened and shredded
½ c almonds, chopped
½ can pineapple, chunks or rings in bite size pieces
1 T ground cinnamon
½ T ground nutmeg
1. In large bowl, mix all ingredients together. WATCH THE LIQUID. You may need more or less. It should be very moist, but not soupy.
2. Put mixture into a greased 9” x 12” baking dish.
3. Place into NON-PREHEATED OVEN.
4. Turn oven to 350 and bake for about 1 hour – make sure that the top is golden brown and all is molded.
5. Serve warm with sauce.
Makes enough for about 10 people. NOMS: 9
½ stick butter
¾ c powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
About ¼ c bourbon
1. Cream butter with sugar in small saucepan over medium heat.
2. Remove from heat. Mix in egg yolk.
3. Pour in bourbon while stirring continuously until reached desired taste.
4. Sauce will thicken as it cools. But serve it warm over the bread pudding.