There are few things in this world that I love more than bread pudding. The sweet, custard-soaked bread, laced with cinnamon and raisins, and then topped with a caramel sauce and whipped cream is without a doubt one of the most comforting of comfort foods. It is a real treat in my house, but the roots of bread pudding go back hundreds of years and to a time when there was no such thing as treats.
In the early history of bread pudding, the dish was developed as a use for stale bread. Nothing was thrown away, and rather than a decadent dessert, many bread puddings were the main dish and instead of sweet, they were savory using lard, meats and vegetables. Lard pudding just doesn’t have a desirable ring to it, but when you are hungry, you use what you have.
Recently, bread pudding has become trendy, using unique cheeses or expensive liquors and spices. But that’s not for me. My bread pudding recipe is one that is simple and homey, but completely scrumptious. And like many of my recipes you can add your own special touches to the basic dish. If you don’t like raisins, try chocolate chips.
That is what makes comfort food special. You can make it your own.
BELLE's BREAD PUDDING
2 cups granulated sugar
5 large beaten eggs
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups stale bread, cubed
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13-by-9-by-2-inch pan.
Mix together granulated sugar, eggs and milk in a bowl; add vanilla. Pour over cubed bread and let sit for 10 minutes.
In another bowl, mix together brown sugar, butter and pecans to form a crumble topping.
Pour bread mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over the top and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven.
Scoop the pudding into individual serving dishes. Drizzle with caramel sauce and a dollop of whipped cream.
Brenda Stanley is the mother of five children, including two sets of
twins, and a grandmother of two. She is a cookbook author and
novelist. Her website is at www.talesofthedinnerbelle.com.