I love bread pudding! I enjoy it hot out of the oven, at room temperature, and chilled; it is great plain or with sauce or whipped cream. It is a dish that travels well and sits happily in the refrigerator for a good week, especially in an airtight container. If I am having house guest, bread pudding is one of the things I will make ahead of time, because not only can it be made ahead of time, but a plate piled high with bread pudding makes a perfect help yourself snack, is a great easy breakfast with coffee or tea, and also a wonderful dessert.
This is a recipe for which stale bread was invented. When bread gets hard, you can put it in the food processor and create bread crumbs, or toss it in the freezer, and wait until you have enough for bread pudding. The harder the bread the better, though I am not sure why, as you are about to drown it, before baking.
1 ½ pounds of dry Bread – I use Cuban or French bread, white sliced bread will not give you the same results – I have added stale glazed doughnuts,
producing a unique taste
Butter – 2 teaspoons to grease the baking dish, plus ½ cup melted
Eggs – 5 extra large Eggs
Milk – 7 cups altogether – I use a mix of evaporated milk and regular milk
Sugar – 2 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons
Cinnamon – 2 tablespoons
Cardamom – 1 teaspoon
Nutmeg – 1 teaspoon
Vanilla – 6 tablespoons
Dice the bread and place it on cookie sheets, and allow it to dry – this may a take a few days, if you are starting with fresh bread. You can advance the process by putting it in 200 degree oven for about an hour, and let it dry, but not toast.
Butter a baking dish, place bread inside of dish. In a large bowl mix eggs, milk, sugar, spices, and vanilla, pour over the bread, allowing it to soak up egg and milk mixture, add melted butter. Let the bread soak for about an hour.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour and fifteen minutes, until it firms up, and a pick inserted, in the center, comes out clean. When baking, this dish puffs up, as it cools, it will become more condensed – the texture between when the pudding is hot and when it is cold, is remarkably different. Let it cool, in the pan, on a cooling rack. Cut into squares and serve.
When you remove it from the oven, you can sprinkle two tablespoons of sugar over the top.
You could add a half cup of raisins, currants, or other dried food chopped. If you do add raisins, which I prefer, plump them before adding them to the soaking bread. The easiest way to put a half cup of raisins in a cup of water and microwave it for a minute or two let it sit for five to ten minutes, and then drain.