Bread pudding has been around for ages and versions of it can be found in many countries’ cuisines. Basically, its a pudding that uses leftover stale bread, eggs, milk and or cream, sugar, raisins and spices. Things that most women had around the house and so could easily whip together at a moment’s notice.
Since I’ve been baking up a storm in my “new-to-me” bread machine, I quite often have leftover bread that is starting to get stale. I’ve been bagging the bread and popping it in the freezer to reuse in recipes like this.
Last week, I attempted to make a bread pudding following a recipe from Grandma’s Cooking by Allan Keller (1955). It was pretty bad. The problem appears to be that I overdid it on the bread. A quick look at the pudding before it went in the oven, might give you an idea what happened. The recipe had called for four slices of buttered bread cut up. Since I was cutting homemade bread, I think I made my slices too big!
Bread pudding would have been known by the English settlers to America. Later printed recipes became common in English and American cookbooks from the 18th century on.
The cookbook author Hannah Glass printed this recipe in her The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy from 1747
A bread pudding
Cut off all the crust of a Penny white loaf and slice it thin into a quart of new milk, set it over a chafingdish of coals, till the bread has soaked up all the milk, then put in a piece of sweet butter, stir it round, let it stand till cold, or you may boil your milk, and pour over your bread, and cover it up close, does full as well; then take the Yolks of six eggs, the whites of three, and beat them up, with a little rosewater, and nutmeg, a little salt, and sugar, and if you choose it, mix all well together, and boil it half an hour.”
Today I decided to try again but this time I found a recipe with more exact measurements. I used the 1943 version of Joy of Cooking. Still had a few issues with the recipe, but after some changes in timing the result is just what I was looking for – a creamy bread pudding that hits the spot on this snowy day.
- 4 c. stale bread, crusts cut off and bread cut into cubes
- 3 c. warm milk (I didn’t have enough milk, so used a mixture of cream and milk)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/3 c. sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 c. raisins
Preheat oven to 350
Cut the crusts off bread and chop into cubes
Warm the milk but don’t boil
Put bread cubes into warm milk letting them soak for 15 minutes
Add the salt to this mixture
Then in a separate bowl, combine egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and nutmeg
Add the raisins to the egg dish
Pour the egg mixture over the soaked bread and stir lightly until well blended
Whip the egg whites until stiff and then gently fold them into the egg/bread mixture
Place this dish into a larger pan
Fill the outer pan with hot water to about half way up the side of the pudding dish
Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until egg mixture is sufficiently cooked (This too much longer for me. I think my water might not have been hot enough around the pan? Or maybe it just needs more time. I ended up taking the casserole out of the water pan and baking it for about 20 more minutes)