Bread Pudding

Bread pudding has it's origin all the way back in 13th century England, and it has been a tradition for many ever since. It has often been referred to as "poor man's pudding" because bread pudding is often used as a tasty means of salvaging stale or leftover bread.

The old style traditional bread pudding was made by soaking stale bread in milk or water, adding sweetener and other ingredients, like fruit, and baking the mixture. And because it's hard to improve on a classic, not much has changed since olden-times, except maybe the addition of different types of refined ingredients.

Bread pudding is a great way to add some festivity to your Christmas through the incorporation of old traditions, even if they're new to you. Think about making bread pudding after Christmas, when you're sure to have lots of leftover or stale bread from your Christmas meal. It's a great way to make sure nothing goes to waste.

What You'll Need:

  • 6 slices day-old bread
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3/4 cup white or brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1 peeled, sliced apple
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).

Break the bread into small pieces and place them in an 8-inch square baking pan. If you are using sliced apple, layer this in with your bread. If you are using raisins, sprinkle them throughout.

In a separate bowl, combine your beaten eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Beat until the ingredients are well-mixed and pour this over the bread. Push down on everything lightly with a fork until the bread is covered and soaking up the egg mixture.

Bake in your 350 F oven for about 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly touched.

Of course, these are just the classic ingredients of a traditional bread pudding. You can suit the recipe to your taste and add your own flavoring to the mix by changing the type of bread used, the spices, and the accents put into it. For example, if someone in your home is lactose intolerant, you may want to try using coffee (decaf) instead of milk to give your pudding a rich mocha flavor. You can leave the rest as is, or you can add chocolate chips for an extra rich treat. You may want to try using banana bread and adding chocolate chips and bananas to the mix for a gooey and delicious desert. Or for a savory bread pudding, try using pumpernickel or dark rye and adding savory spices and cheese (Swiss cheese, goat cheese, or brie) into the mixture. This will yield an impressive casserole-like side dish to your Christmas fare. This really is a flexible recipe, and anything goes!