Dear readers, cooking and baking up a storm in the kitchen doesn’t have to be difficult. In this fast-paced world we live in, easy and quick recipes are certainly the way to go, and it just really doesn’t get any easier than bread pudding when thinking of dessert.
You can learn a lot of life hacks working in the pro kitchen; even if it’s just for a summer or two. Builds character, too. If you happen to work under a chef that loves to impart knowledge, you’re lucky. I was lucky enough…I worked for a few such chefs and I learned a lot for sure.
Now that I don’t work in the field anymore and only write about it, the only cooking and baking I do is at home, and these tricks I learned still come in handy, believe me.
Because of time, which I’m sure is the case for many of you, I happen to really enjoy the fast and easy recipes out there, and dear readers, trust me when I tell you that nothing is as easy as this one here.
Okay, okay…maybe there are a few others and we’ll get to those one day soon, but bread pudding folks, is easy. In essence you can even consider it a piece of cake, even though it isn’t cake. (See what I did there?)
How do I make bread pudding?
Glad you asked. As stated above, it’s a cake walk, and if you’re planning a really complicated menu for your next dinner party this one is the perfect addition and all because it doesn’t need much attention, really. You can concentrate on the other aspects of your dinner.
The exact history of bread pudding is hard to come up with—an inventor and such. Perhaps it was passed down from generation to generation, and in many countries, because many cultures have a variation of this treat in their respective diets, but its first appearance in print seems to come from a book circa 1727, states Wikipedia.
The Compleat Housewife was published in London, according to Wikipedia as well. It was written by Eliza Smith. And yes, that was the original spelling of the word ‘complete,’ and is no typo (although I am prone to make a few).
The aim of the book was explained in the book’s title page:
"“…collection of several hundred of the most approved receipts, in cookery, pastry, confectionery, preserving, pickles, cakes, creams, jellies, made wines, cordials. And also bills of fare for every month of the year. To which is added, a collection of nearly two hundred family receipts of medicines; viz. drinks, syrups, salves, ointments, and many other things of sovereign and approved efficacy in most distempers…”-Via Wikipedia (transcription) – link above / The Compleat Housewife"
The last time I made bread pudding, I had served an appetizer of watermelon, iceberg, spinach and mint salad. I used a grape seed oil and rice wine vinegar vinaigrette. I then served homemade meat and cheese ravioli in a cream and butternut squash sauce. For the third course I served a chicken cacciatore over a bed of latkes.
So dessert needed to be simple, and bread pudding was the way to go for sure I knew, as my attention was indeed needed elsewhere as you could imagine, but it looked elegant and tasted great too, if I do say so myself.
Now there are many recipes out there for bread pudding but this is mine:
They say you can use stale bread, but really I never do. I just don’t like the sound of it, you know…using anything stale just seems wrong to me, but maybe that’s just me. Anyways, this recipe calls for a half loaf of standard sliced bread, but what I like to do is use odds and ends that I have in my pantry.
For example, I’ll fill an empty bag of bread (standard size) with cubed pieces of bagel, loaf bread, brioche, Greek pita—even rye and pumpernickel. Once I reach the halfway point of the bag I’m ready to go. The different breads add a great texture to the pudding, trust me.
In a bowl, soak these cubed pieces of assorted breads in 4 beaten eggs, 3 cups of milk, 1 cup of brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract and an extra 2 tablespoons of regular granulated sugar.
After 15 minutes of soaking, transfer into a buttered baking pan or a pan with parchment paper lining the base and sides of the pan and bake at 350 for a nice slow bake. The top should be golden brown and test with a toothpick to make sure all the egg is cooked.
It can be served cold and what I like to do is serve with a wee bit of maple syrup atop. Like I said earlier, it’s the perfect ending to a heavy and complex meal. You can even place a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top for good measure and if you so dare. Hey, the diet starts tomorrow, right? Or how about next week, or maybe even next month…?
Any other easy recipes you’d like to know about? I’ve got a few tricks that can definitely help you out for your next dinner party and make that overcomplicated treat much easier. Let us know dear readers. You’d be surprised what tricks of the trade we can cook up.