Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Mardi Gras: Christmas Past Bread Pudding
I happened to have a loaf of homemade stollen in the freezer. It was a loaf that we didn't have time to eat around the holidays, so it sat around on the counter getting stale. Before we realized it, the bread was dry and relatively unpleasant. But, we don't like to waste food. So, we wrapped it tightly in aluminum foil and tossed it into the freezer. Yes, there was a good chance it would get lost in there and never been seen again; but, there was also a pretty good chance that I'd find a use for it later.
Looks like later came earlier than expected.
I took the bread and diced it up (frosting and all), and threw it in the biggest bowl I could find.
I was feeling like a little bit of extra effort might be nice, so I threw a few cups of milk together with a scraped vanilla bean, and let that steep for a few minutes over medium heat.
I also poured some warmed whiskey over a 1/2 cup or so of raisins -- to plump them up and make them into little boozy flavor vehicles.
I whipped up a few eggs with some sugar and put them into the bowl with the bread, stirring so that the bread was evenly coated. I tossed the raisens in as well, with the residual whisky for good measure. When the milk & vanilla was steeped, I poured that over the top of everything and let it sit to soak for a few minutes before I poured it all into a greased baking dish. At that point, it looked something like this.
I like making my bread pudding bain marie style -- so I plopped the baking dish into one of my deeper baking pans, and poured in a few cups of boiling water.
Then, I closed the door and let the pudding bake for about an hour or so until the pudding was set and the top was nice and browned.
If I'm honest, I'll admit that I look forward to bread pudding more for the bourbon sauce than for the pudding itself. But, this particular batch of pudding didn't need it; it was moist and tender, and the frosting from the stollen offered bursts of sweetness in many of the nooks and crannies. We opted instead to sprinkle the warm pudding with a bit of whiskey and call it good.
If you have time for a bit of dessert after your Fat Tuesday feasting, maybe think about whipping up a batch of bread pudding. Here's my usual recipe.
Happy Mardi Gras, everyone!
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