24 January, 2013 by shortcaked
Today is National Peanut Butter Day! To celebrate, go make yourself some gooey nutty treat.
Or just jam a spoon in the jar, like I do.
For my National PB-is-the-greatest-thing-ever Day, I made…bread pudding. Completely devoid of peanut butter.
I’m going to backtrack and explain myself, here. I didn’t get a lot of say in what the bake du jour would be this weekend. We had a lot of leftover, very miscellaneous bread hanging around in the refrigerator, and almost a half gallon of milk that nobody was going to drink before it soured. Which translates in my house to bread pudding night.
Bread pudding is actually a relatively recent addition to the dessert rotation under my roof. My dad made a lot of calls for rice pudding in the past (which nobody felt the need to answer, being as nobody else likes rice pudding), and you’d think with the amount of Chopped we watch this would have happened a lot sooner.
It didn’t. It didn’t happen until early January, when heaven became pudding.
Bread pudding tastes like baked french toast. Bread pudding is also literally one of the easiest desserts to make. The only way you can fuck up a bread pudding is if start salivating too hard too quick and you devour it before it’s had time to fully set. Bread pudding is the perfect winter dessert, and bread pudding is what my life has been missing all these years. If you haven’t ever experienced the glory that is bread pudding, drop everything and treat yourself.
- 2 cups milk
- 4 large eggs
- 8 slices of bread
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ground cloves
- Cut the bread into inch-ish cubes and season lightly with spices-of-choice. Dump unceremoniously into a lightly-greased 8×8 glass baking dish. Toss with any fixins, if using.
- Whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and more of those tasty spices. Pour that tasty-looking mix right on top of your bread, and poke your bread cubes around so they all get equally soggy.
- Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes, until any bread that’s still poking out is nice and toasty and all that eggy goo has set around it. Let cool completely before serving.
Bekah’s Pro Bread Pudding Tips: Dry Your Bread
You know how french toast is at peak awesome when you use thick bread that’s either been toasted or just given a little time to get stale? Same thing works with BP. Letting the bread get stale gives the cubes an extra layer of defence against the custard you’ll be dredging it in, so your bread keeps some of its texture. (If that’s your thing. If you want goopy bread pudding, skip this.) Just slice up the bread the night before and let it sit in a bowl on the counter, completely uncovered. Mm. Stale bread. This time I tried something new and put spice in with the bread while it was sitting out. Which was definitely a good call. But then again, we’re all spice people.
BPBPT: No, you don’t have to eat it rightoutoftheoven.
You can’t, really, unless you want to jeapordise the custardy goodness that is bread pudding and WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO DO THAT? No. Take the pudding out, let it cool completely, and then just cheat at the end. Thirty seconds in the microwave. A minute in the toaster oven if you want more crispiness on top. Man, I love small appliances.
BPBPT: Fixins’ are your Friends
PUT THINGS IN YOUR PUDDING. YOUR MOUTH WILL BE HAPPY. Raisins. Nuts. Cranberries. Banana chips. Whatever your taste buds desire, just toss it in with your bread before you dump the custard on. You probably want to avoid things that melt, but who knows? I’ve never tried it. Maybe it’s wonderful. I’ll be eagerly awaiting your input on this one.
Bekah’s Life-of-a-Baker Tip: Edge-Cracked Eggs are not your Friends
I think we learned this one from Jacques Pépin, who actually kind of scares me, but the man has good tips about egg-cracking. Keep the egg parallel with your counter and crack it on the flat surface, rather than the edge. I cannot tell you why, but you will make far fewer messes this way. There’s also some benefit about bacteria not getting in your egg when you aren’t forcing the shell back into that gooey goodness, but nine times out of ten I’m more concerned with mess than I am about egg bacteria. Let’s be real.