As I type, I can here the rain pelting our windows and see lightning flicker intermittently outside. This has been going on since yesterday afternoon and, as a combined result of the weather and my recently busy life, all I’ve wanted to do this weekend is cuddle up on the couch and relax. Just as I was settling into the couch though, my attention-and home-cooking-starved JiT announced that he was craving dessert. This is a rather uncharacteristic craving for him, so I knew something had to be done in spite of my desire to be a couch potato. An easy Bread Pudding recipe sounded about my speed.
Of course, baking and desserts, for all their starchy, sticky, sweet and gooey goodness, can often be rather complicated, thus negating any time for relaxation. Lucky for me though, I was able to come up with one very notable, delicious, and perfect-for-a-rainy-day exception: Bread Pudding.
Oh, sure, if you’re feeling ambitious bread pudding can be quite the undertaking with steps and layers and specialty breads and all sorts of complicated details. But at its very heart, the idea of bread pudding is meant to be simple: take stale bread, add milk and eggs (and sugar and spices), soak until sopping and bake. The result should be dense and slightly crunchy on the outside, yet impossibly creamy and custard-like in the center. And really; ideally; the whole thing should be simple, simple, simple to make.
If that is your idea of bread pudding, then I have the recipe for you. This version took me less that 20 minutes to mix together last night. I shoved it in the fridge while we fixed dinner, then stuck it in the oven while we were eating. By the time we were ready for dessert, the crusty, puffy, custardy delight was ready for gobbling. And boy was it good.
The sauce took about 10 minutes to create by throwing a few handfuls of frozen blueberries in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of sugar and about a third cup of water. Simmer until the mixture is thick enough to coat a spoon. The berries add a fresh little pop to contrast the creamy sweetness of the pudding. But, if you prefer your pudding straight up, its just as good.
This morning, I enjoyed mine topped with the sauce alongside a cup of coffee. I was so content I could barely hear the rain. Yum.
3/4 of a loaf of crusty French bread (about 11 oz.), I bought mine fresh and it worked fine
4 cups of milk (I used 2 cups whole, 2 cups skim but should be fine with whatever you choose)
1 and 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup white chocolate chips (or flavor of your choosing such as chocolate, butterscotch or cinnamon)
Grease a 2 quart round casserole or 9×11″ baking dish. In a large bowl, tear bread into small pieces. Add remaining ingredients and stir gently until mixture takes on the consistency of runny porridge or oatmeal.
Pour mixture into prepared dish, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. When ready, uncover the baking dish and place in the center of the oven. Bake uncovered for 1 hour, or until the top is golden and puffy and the pudding is nearly set (it should wiggle slightly when you shake the dish).
Let stand for 5 minutes to cool before serving. Can be served warm or cold, plain or with fruit sauce, ice cream or whipped cream.