Bread Pudding,,a Holiday Delight Dessert Style with Nuts and Chocolate

November 25, 2011  •  Leave a Comment
This is my first time to cook bread pudding. I chose ingredients for a dessert style. As I understand, this type of pudding came about as a means to use old bread and let none go to waste.  The dish varies greatly from culture to culture. I have found people either like it or absolutely will not even take a bite...the same way some people avoid fine cheesecake and miss a true culinary delight.   This particular recipe is a basic form with my choice of added ingredients.  Feel free to add you own personal touches such as berries, etc., staying aware not to add much excess liquid which could make the dish too wet and the custard not properly cooked. 
Shown below, a dollop of sherbet adorns the pudding. At Thanksgiving dinner, it was served warm topped with fresh whipped cream. 
 
 Bread Pudding...a fine Holiday Treat
 
 
 
Here is the recipe, serving 4 to 8, depending on 
your spoon and generosity:
Ingredients
  • 2  3/4 cups cubed day old French bread
  • 4 eggs,med (no-cage brown eggs if you have them)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch allspice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional walnuts, pecans)
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate, chips or chopped
  • 8 inch square baking dish
Directions
1.    Butter baking dish well.
2.    Place bread cubes in the baking dish, sprinkle on nuts and chocolate holding back some to sprinkle on after liquid is added.
3.    In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Slowly whisk in the milk and cream. Stir in pinch allspice. Pour over the bread. (Taste at this point for spices.) Let set for 25 min while oven heats up.*  (Taste again.) Press bread as needed to keep well into liquid.
4.    Sprinkle with nutmeg, brown sugar, remaining nuts and chocolate. 
5.    Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C)*.
6.    Prepare a water bath for the baking dish by partially filling a larger dish with hot water.
7.    Place the baking dish in the water bath. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve either hot or chilled. 
 
 
 
French Bread...some call it a Baguette.  The dough style is regulated in France but not particularly the shape.  This is hard bread and wonderful for many uses. Why mention it? Depending on your knives and keenness of edge, you may need a serrated blade to quickly cut the baguette.  Cut into slices about 1/2 inch thick then cut across twice to cube.  As you can see, I was rescued by a Japanese Dozuki saw and made short work of the bread and the cutting board!  (Not wanting anyone without a dozuki to feel left out preparing this dish, use a sharp serrated or very sharp knife of your choice, like I really did.)
 
 The hard French Bread was cut into cubes the
day before and put into a plastic bag left
open and placed in the refrigerator.
This way it was both day old and pristine.
 
The Recipe Is Above. Simply follow it along.  The photos below illustrate the steps in making your bread pudding...
 
 
Bread with custard liquid added and sprinkled 
with nuts and chocolate
 
 
A smaller dish was used to press the bread into the liquid.  Allow to soak about 25 minutes and turn on the
oven to preheat during this time
 
 
 The pudding before baking
 
 
Water bath used for gentle baking 
of the custard mixture
 
In the oven, ready to bake
 
 
The bread pudding straight from the oven
 
 
There it is...  This festive holiday bread pudding is a tasty morsel and really quite easy to prepare
 
 
A word to the wise:  I knew the flavors would blend and work to fullness overnight in the refrigerator.  That did happen with one surprise:  Black Walnut Take Over!
 
English walnuts would not have done it and neither would the pecans.  Those costly black walnuts raised a level of determination to be noticed and when reheated on Thanksgiving Day, it was almost a black walnut takeover.  I had been concerned about using too much allspice..no problem with any of the spices and the flavor there was wonderful.  As for the black walnuts, lets simply say there was no hiding in the background or in the bouquet to those nuts.  It was delicious and the walnuts tasted bold and fine.  What I learned was not to use any more than I did the next time a holiday bread pudding is to be made.
 
Reheating:  This must be a gentle process to keep the custard from becoming too thick.  You can use a water bath in the oven at a low temperature, checking often on the warmth of the pudding.  If in a microwave proof dish, simply reheat in the microwave.  I did this one for about 8 minutes at 30% power, checking often and adding a minute as needed.  Low power must be used in reheating. 
_____________________________
 
Your contribution..do you have a variation of bread pudding to share? Please e-mail me (link at page top right). 
 
 

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