I absolutely adore bread pudding. It is perfect for those dismal, dark, and dank winter days, when you need something joyful and rich to carry you through to spring.
My recipe is nowhere near as sweet as usual bread pudding. If you use good ingredients, you don't need to hide them with an excess of sugar. Farm fresh eggs from happy hens have a rich orange yolk which impart a gorgeous golden colour to the pudding and an intensely rich custardy quality. Sure you can use store bought eggs if nothing else is available, but if you do, add a pinch of saffron to the milk when you heat it as it helps to impart a golden colour.
Another key ingredient is to have really good white bread. You can use fresh bread, but I think it tastes better with stale. Those fancy buns that are left over from last nights holiday dinner make an awesome pudd. I keep some of this on hand all holiday season for those unexpected guest that always drop in around meal time (do other people have this problem, or is it just me?) or for those mornings when I have too much to do to make a proper breakfast.
Maple Bread Pudding4 cups of good white bread, cut into cubes or torn into 1/2 inch bits
2 cups whole milk (I use goat milk)
3 really nice eggs
1 tsp (goat) butter
about a handful of currents, raisins, or other dried or candied fruit
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
optional, pinch saffron
- Chop or tear the bread so that the bits are about 1/2 inch cube. Don't fret too much if they are bigger or smaller. It really doesn't matter if they are all the same size.
- Bring the milk to just below the boil (where it starts to bubble but not fully boiling), stirring frequently to avoid burning. Remove from heat. At this time if you are using saffron, add a pinch of it to the milk and stir well.
- Add bread to hot milk, stir in well, and leave until cool. At least an hour.
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir in well.
If you have a pudding basin
A pudding basin has a lip around the edge that makes tying the cloth over the top possible. It's also strong enough to plunge into boiling hot water without shattering or cracking. Mason and Cash really do make the best pudding basins, some shops sell the boring white ones (my favourite) for quite reasonable price. I think my small ones were about $9 and my larger ones were about $16 to $24. The Lovely Blue Mason & Cash Pudding Basin makes a wonderful gift for people who love their kitchen.
There are some glass bowls with the appropriate lip around the outside. You can use these, but please do not plunge them into boiling water like most steamed and boiled pudding recipes call for. Trust me, this ends badly. Instead, add them to tepid water and then bring to the boil. Start your timer when the water is good and bubbly.
- Butter the inside of the pan.
- Spoon your pudding into the basin. Cover with a cloth and tie down tightly with a string so that the string is just below the rim of the bowl and the cloth is tight.
- Tie the opposite corners of the cloth on top of the pudding with a secure knot.
- Get out your largest pan. It needs to be big enough to fit the pudding with the lid on.
- If you have a trivet, place it in the bottom of a very large pan. Else put another cloth on the bottom. You don't really want your basin touching the bottom of the pan directly
- Putting the pudding in the pot and fill with water so that it just about reaches the top of the pudding bowl. It will get in the pudding as it cooks, but don't worry.
- Bring to boil and boil vigorously for 1 hour. Remove from water, unwrap and serve hot or cold.
If you are making this in a cloth
- Fetch your largest pan and fill just over half full with water. Bring to a boil.
- Get a piece of string ready, about 2' is usually ample.
- Rub butter on the inside of the cloth and lightly sprinkle some flour. Poor the pudding onto the cloth and quickly gather up the edges of the cloth. Tie a string close to the pudding.
- Drop, gently, the pudding into the boiling water. Boil vigorously for 1 hour.
- Remove from pan and serve hot or cold.
Please use a clean, cotton or linen cloth. Do not use a synthetic fabric as it may melt. Also do not use a cloth with a strong colour as it might run and make your pudding look bright purple (how do I know? don't ask).
This is not a vegan friendly food, but I'll bet dimes to dollars that Sarah Kramer has an awesome vegan version of this, or will do soon.
People with allergies: This has some common allergens in it, eggs being one of them. Also, many commercially made breads contain soy and other common allergens as fillers. Raisins and spices sometimes contain soy as an anti-caking agency. Check the ingredients list on your ingredients (no, really! It's important). If you are serving this somewhere where people might have allergies, please include the ingredients for the bread as well as what you used to make the pud..
You can serve with warm jam or even better, maple syrup for an extra special treat.
ps. This makes an awesome breakfast cold.