I've been wanting to figure out how to use up extra milk every week. I've been making pancakes, and those are good, but the truth is, I'm not always in a pancake mood. So I recently decided to try my hand at making bread pudding. The ingredients were pretty basic; I used the rest of my big ol' thing of milk, a bunch of fruit that was just about to go bad, extra cream and eggs I had leftover from a different baking project, and the sliced bread that I keep in my freezer. The final result... good stuff! Better than pancakes!
This was the first time that I made bread pudding. To make the recipe, I mostly went by look and feel. I glanced quick at a couple of cookbooks just to make sure that I was on the right track, but sometimes I just don't feel patient enough to completely read through a recipe.
One of the main things I picked up on is to make sure that there is a lot of milk for the bread to soak up, not just a little bit. Some of the books said to heat the milk up first and then soak the bread and blah blah blah, but I had stuff to do besides make bread pudding, and I didn't have time for all that. I was a little nervous that I would risk ruining ingredients, and then have to throw away food or eat food that I didn't like. But I made up my mind and decided that this bread pudding was going to work out and that was that.
Since the ingredients in this recipe were based on the this-and-thats in my fridge, it will most likely be somewhat different next time.
Ingredients (this time around):
(makes 1 full and hearty 9x11 dish)
- 4 cups milk
- 1/2 pint heavy cream
- 5 eggs
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 12 slices sourdough bread, defrosted
- 1 cup cherries
- 2 nectarines
- 5 apricots
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Putting Together the Puddin':
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Melt the butter and set aside to cool.
- Cut the bread into about 1-inch squares.
- Chop up the fruit.
- In a really big bowl, mix the milk, cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon together well.
- Add the bread, fruit, and cooled butter into the bowl and stir.
- Butter a 9x11 baking dish, and pour the bread pudding mixture into the dish.
- Put the dish in a larger baking dish, filling the outer dish with hot water, coming up to about 1/2 of the height of the inner dish. I used a large aluminum baking pan that I could mold to be the size I needed it, and then I placed the whole production on a baking sheet for added support. (I think this step is important for cooking the eggs and milk in a thorough and gentle way, although I'm not certain that it's completely necessary.)
- Pop it in the oven and bake. Check it after 45 minutes. It will probably bake for about an hour, or maybe a bit longer. Check for doneness by pricking the bread pudding with a sharp knife, and testing to see that it comes out clean, or nearly clean, with the center of the pudding still a little wobbly.
Mellow, simple, and humble food--to me, fresh fruit bread pudding is perfect-tasting. It is a great thing to have around the house, and it doesn't last long! It was nice to have it on hand, not only as a treat for myself, but to give away to friends.
Wonderful for snacking and entertaining, it's so good to know that bread pudding is only a few cups of extra milk away!