I had been planning to make cheese fondue for a Sunday dinner when Daughter Miriam begged off at the last minute. While I had not yet grated the cheese, I was left with a whole loaf of French bread cut into little cubes. I needed to think of something to do with these, if I was not going to dip them into melted cheese sauce. I could make salad croutons, a cheese strada, or bread pudding. Wife Jan is very fond of bread pudding.
Note: While none of us children copied down her recipe, this close to what my mother Claudia would have made as I was growing up.
Karl’s Bread Pudding
1 cup half and half cream
2 Tbs. butter, melted
2 Tbs. Karl’s Orange Infused Sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon, ground
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. nutmeg, fresh grated
½ tsp. kosher salt
Pinch cloves, ground
1 loaf French bread, cubed
½ cup currents
1. Put the eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk them lightly.
2. Whisk in the cream and melted butter into the eggs.
Tip: The butter will most likely congeal into little lumps, but do not be concerned with this.
3. Add the sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, salt, and cloves.
4. Whisk to mix the ingredients.
5. Add the bread cubes and currents.
6. Fold the bread and fruit into the wet ingredients.
Note: This mixture will be really wet. This is as it should be.
7. Pour the pudding mix into a Pam-ed, or buttered, casserole dish that is large enough to take all of the pudding.
Tip: You want at least a quarter of an inch between the top of the pudding and the lip of the casserole. Otherwise, it might spill over onto your oven as it bakes. I always bake with a large baking tray on the lower rack to catch any drips. It is easier to clean a baking tray than a whole oven.
8. Let the pudding stand for ten to 15 minutes.
Tip: This rest allows the bread and almond meal to absorb some of the excess liquid.
Note: My mother would usually prepare the dish to this point the night before and let it soak, covered, overnight.
9. Cover the casserole with the lid—if it has one—or with aluminum foil.
10. Preheat the oven to 350° F
11. Put the bread pudding in oven and bake for 25 minutes.
Tip: Until the center no longer jiggles loosely, but it is still not completely set.
12. Remove the foil and switch the oven to broil—still at 350° F.
13. Broil for another 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
14. Let the pudding cool for ten minutes and scoop out to serve warm or chill completely and serve as slices.