Friday, April 17, 2009

Comfort Food--Bread Pudding

Last night I decided I wanted bread pudding. Good bread pudding--the kind with crushed pineapple and shredded granny smith apples in it to give a little interest to the custard base. I have been seeing it more frequently on menus at some pretty upscale restaurants lately, but all of them seem to be pretty plain jane with an overly boozed sauce on top. A good light bourbon or lemon-vanilla sauce is all that is needed for this dish---it doesn't drown the flavors under heavy booze tones.

I found a recipe online that mimics the one I found (and lost) from Southern Living. It is originally from Dooky Chase--the famed New Orleans shop owner. I'd been making this for a while, then lost the recipe when we moved to the new house. Bread pudding is a great comfort food and a very tasty way to make use of leftover stale bread or french bread loaves that don't get used up. If you don't have enough for the pudding all at once, cube the bread, let it get stale by leaving it out overnight, then put in the freezer. You can keep adding to this bag until you have enough for the dish. YUM.

I am not one to be able to follow a recipe without adding some twist to it, so my addition is a cup of dried cherries or dried cranberries instead of the raisins. I like the better than raisins and they give a little lift to the dish. Feel free to add other dried fruit like chopped apricots or blueberries, if that sounds better to you. Either way, this makes a lot and is the King of comfort foods!

Oh, and I've been known to mix the white bread with a little leftover wheat french loaf. It's all good.

Bread Pudding
5 cups stale white bread (can be french, Italian loaf etc.)
2 (12 oz.) cans evaporated milk
6 eggs beaten
8 oz crushed pineapple (I pour the juice in too)
1 large apple peeled and grated
1 cup raisins (or other dried friut like cranberries, cherries, or diced apricots)
1 1/2 sugar
2-3 tablespoons vanilla
1/4 pound butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350*F.

Mix together the eggs, vanilla, sugar. butter, milk. Mix until smooth. Add the crsuhed pineapple and it's juice, grated apple and dried fruit. Add the bread cubes and toss to mix all ingredients well.

Pour into a greased 9"x13" pan baking dish.

Bake for 30-40 minuted until cooked through (should be firm in the middle)

Let cool and serve with whipped cream, a bourbon sauce (recipe later) or a lemon sauce.

I've seen it drizzled with chocolate syrup too, but I think bread pudding is best when the original flvors are allowed to shine.

The recipe calls for 5 Tablespoons vanilla--that sounded like too much. I don't remember putting that much in the Southern Living version, so I cut that in half. The recipe also called for 1 cup water to be mixed with the milk, but since I was using the juice from the pineapple, I omitted that. It's a recipe--play with it and make it yours!

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