When you’ve got a good thing going, you don’t want to mess with it. Such as my mom’s bread pudding, for example, the one I grew up with, custardy in the middle and crusty on top. And full of those plump raisins that you’d bite into with each spoonful. It had a hint of cinnamon too, and sometimes she’d serve it with real whipped cream on top. Or with a lemon sauce made with fresh lemons, none of that stuff that comes in a piece of yellow plastic.
I wonder what she’d think of these “modern” bread puddings that you find in trendy restaurants – made with chocolate and nuts and ‘exotic’ fruits such as blueberries and pineapple. And topped with sauces made with bourbon or rum.
Granted, I’ve gravitated over to the ‘dark side,’ when making my own puddings, often adding whatever I can find on my shelf – such as granola, cranberries, caramel, bananas, chocolate syrup, coffee, and pumpkin. Because I create and bake so many different types of bread puddings, I often ask friends and neighbors to be taste testers. Many are traditionalists, like my neighbor, Eric, who fondly remembers his mom’s own bread pudding, and was a little skeptical of the one I brought over containing chocolate and cherries. My other neighbor, Gail, however, was delighted with my pumpkin rum raisin BP, which she rated an “Eleven.”
But it all began with mom. She taught me about bread pudding. Here’s her tried and true recipe. It’s very custardy, so if you’d like a denser bread pudding, just increase the bread to liquid ratio. Thanks, mom.
MOM’S HOMESTYLE BREAD PUDDING
2 to 3 slices day-old white bread, buttered and cubed
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or to taste)
2 cups milk, scalded
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine bread cubes and raisins in buttered 1-1/2-quart baking dish, or 8- or 9-inch square pan. In large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon. Add hot milk slowly, stirring to mix well. Pour over bread mixture. Set baking dish in shallow pan of hot water. Bake about 60 minutes, or until pudding is firm and browned on top. Serve warm or at room temperature, topped with whipped cream, warm chocolate sauce, or lemon sauce. Serves 6-8.