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November 6, 2012

Bread Pudding: Classic and New

Once, bread pudding was a cook’s way of using up leftover bread; my mother would use one of her favorite words — frugal. From the 1940s through the ‘60s, bread pudding was thrifty way to make dessert, and was hugely popular because it was irresistible.

But this rich, comforting dessert is reason enough to go out and buy a loaf. If it is already a mainstay dessert in your home, then you have figured out its secret: everything about bread pudding is easy, from making it, to eating too much of it.

This dessert’s basic ingredients are bread and eggs, but is so much more. First, the bread absorbs the egg mixture and becomes soft. When baked, it develops a golden crust over a melt-in-your-mouth, creamy layer; this is the goodness that is addictive to most people.

While most any bread is OK to use, a hearty bread is the best; it softens without getting mushy. And if you want the best in flavor, use an egg bread, such as brioche or challah.

This old-fashioned bread pudding recipe comes from a restaurant outside of Eau Claire, Wisc. The restaurant had become famous for this Bread Pudding with warm Lemon Sauce, and the recipe came with the restaurant when the current owners bought it in 1993.

Again, it was a frugal way for restaurants to use leftover breads and rolls, and their patrons enjoyed a delicious dessert.

Classic Bread Pudding

Serves about four

Ingredients:

2 cups cubed (small) day-old bread, crusts removed (a hearty bread works well)

2 cups milk

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons butter

Dash of salt

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional – 1/3 cup raisins

Note: This recipe leaves out cinnamon and nutmeg, common spices in bread pudding. (Perhaps because the lemon sauce is highlighted here). If you wish to use it, add a 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and a bit smaller amount of nutmeg.

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