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The original recipe for Bread Pudding can be found on a web page called MomsWhoThink.com at http://www.momswhothink.com/easy-recipes/bread-pudding-recipe.html (Which is funny because I'm a Dad and the blog is Idiotdadcooks)
Simply put, I love Bread Pudding. It's a dessert that fits almost any occasion and any entree`. It can be dressed up or dressed down, simple or complex. Really I can't think of a setting that bread pudding would be an inappropriate dessert to serve. In the pantheon of sweets, bread pudding is most definitely in my top 3.
You'll love this recipe because truly it's a budget friendly dessert that packs a sophisticated wallop when it's finished. When I was considering what to make this week I was trying to think of a dessert that would mostly incorporate what I already had in the pantry (again, no budget) and used many ingredients we have used together on this blog. It turned out I already had every ingredient required save two, the french bread and half N half. Six bucks and a trip to the grocery store later I was ready to rock.
I have to say I've had some pretty rave reviews about this bread pudding so far. I myself and a conniseur of sorts concerning bread pudding, and I must admit (even though I made it myself) this is among the best I've had.
For this recipe you'll need:
For the Bread Pudding
2 cups Half N Half (hnh)
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar "packed" (light or dark depends on your tongue)
3 large eggs (size Large eggs are standard size for baking)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups of bread (french bread is what I used) torn up in to little pieces
1/2 cup raisins
For the Sauce
1 cup Half N Half
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup granulated (regular) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon flour
dash of salt
Set your oven to 350 before you do anything else. You want to make sure it's good and ready for this so the pudding will cook properly.
A lot of bread pudding recipe's will require you to let your bread go stale. This makes sense because the invention of bread pudding was a means to figure out how to utilize stale bread. This recipe thankfully does not require that step, and can be made in a pinch.
Start off by taking a 1.5 quart casserole dish and lube it well with butter. Simply cut a stick in half and rub the interior of the dish well until you've evenly coated the inside. After you've done that tear apart your bread until you have 3 cups worth. You're going to want the pieces to be relatively small, though size variation is expected. Place the torn up bread pieces evenly in the dish, and set it aside. Now we need to concentrate on making the custard for our pudding.
To make the custard you're going to want a non stick sauce pan (my preference), and a whisk or large spoon. Poor your half N half in to the sauce pan, and set your heat to medium. Let the half N half come up to a boil, and add your butter, stirring relatively constantly until the butter is melted. Take the half N half/butter combo off the burner and set aside.
*A Side Note: Dairy on heat tends to be somewhat volatile. It will bubble up quick and over flow if not attended. Don't ignore dairy on heat. Thank you.
Next you're going to combine in a "mixer safe" bowl the eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and brown sugar. Take your hand mixer and mix for about one minute. Make sure you start slowly with a few pulses, you don't want to wear the mixture.
This is where you have to wait for your hnh/butter combo to cool down to a lukewarm state. Realize the eggs will turn in to scrambled eggs if your not careful, so make sure you can completely comfortably touch the hnf/butter mixture before you add it to the bowl.
Once you can comfortably touch your hnh/butter mixture start your hand mixer again. While mixing start to drizzle the hnh/butter mixture to the bowl. Keep doing this until both mixes are completely combined. Once this is done simply pour this mixture over the bread. Add your raisins to the top, and with a large spoon gently mix the bread, custard, and raisins. Make sure all the bread has absorbed a good amount of the custard mixture, and put it in the oven (please make sure your rack is dead center of your oven). Bake for 50 minutes, and prepare to fend off small children, animals, and spouses. The smell will take over the house, and you will love it.
The video this week is a tad long, but will show you the general assembly of the custard and the combining of it with the bread.
While your bread pudding is cooking, go ahead an wash the sauce pan you used for the hnh/butter mix because you'll need it for the icing like glaze we will be making next.
I would hold off on starting this glaze until about 10 minutes before you are due to take the pudding out of the oven. This stuff is fantastic but will set up quickly, and you'll want the liquid factor to be in full play when you pour it over your pudding. Actually, you may even want to wait to start the glaze after you take the pudding out, it depends on how well you multitask.
This glaze is actually pretty easy to make, but does ABSOLUTELY REQUIRE YOUR ATTENTION THROUGH THE ENTIRE PROCESS! Simply put all the ingredients listed above in the the sauce pan, turn your heat on to medium. (*Note: for those concerned with a loose term like "dash of salt" just shake a normal salt shaker about two times over your glaze, that will suffice) With a whisk simply stir, and keep stirring the entire time it's on the heat. When it starts to boil regardless of your stirring set a timer for 4 minutes. Continue to stir until the timer goes off. Turn off your heat at this point, and let the glaze rest for about 2 minutes. After the rest time, simply take the entire sauce pan over to your bread pudding and evenly distribute the glaze over the entire dish.
*Note: Below there is a picture of a spoon coated in the glaze with a wipe mark on it. To test your glaze to see if it's the right thickness you can dip a spoon's backside (yes a clean one) in to the glaze, and take your finger and wipe a strip off. The glaze should basically stay still, as seen below.
This bread pudding is AMAZING. Not too sweet, certainly far from bland, not soupy, yet certainly a bread pudding. This is a wonderful, cheap, simple, yet sophisticated tasting dish. You'll love it, as will anyone you allow to touch this (and yes, you'll be tempted not to share). This certainly is a favorite of mine, and my family as well. Eat well everyone!
This is fantastic reheated. Cut off the offending portion you wish to consume, put it on a small plate and microwave on high for 1 minute. The glaze will remelt, and the pudding will now lose much moisture at all.