The next time you need to make dessert (or must volunteer to 'bring something'), this is it.
It's so easy and so good, and really, who doesn't love bread pudding? It's good warm, it's good cold, it's good with ice cream, vanilla sauce, whipped cream, or nothing at all.
This is my Grandma Helen's recipe. She was a Midwestern Lutheran, full of grace and beauty, a domestic goddess before it was a term. She gave those traits to my mother, who carries them to this day (aside from that brief stint as an Episcopalian). Now I have the recipe, so without further ado...
Grandma Helen's Bread Pudding
Grease a baking bowl (Pyrex) or 9x9 or 10x10 baking dish with butter or margarine. (Which you use depends on what you'd like more of: for soft and gooey, use a bowl; for crunchier on top, use a baking dish.)
Cube four cups of bread and add to the baking bowl or dish. If you want to, add 1/2 cups of raisins (or even chocolate chips or nuts).
It's best to use at least one-day-old bread, and find something chunky, like a walnut and whatever bread, or something wholegrain and seedy. I've also used cinnamon swirl and cinnamon raisin bread, which are good, but less 'wholesome', since white bread yields a more pudding-like pudding, which is also good, but in a guilty-pleasure kind of way.
In another bowl, mix together:
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup of sugar (or 1/3 cup of agave nectar for a healthier version)
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 4 tablespoons of butter or margarine melted in 2 cups of milk (melt for 30 seconds in the microwave, then add to the above mixture)
Pour everything over the bread.
Bake in pan of water for 40 minutes at 350 F. (Basically, put an inch or two of water in a 9x13 baking dish, then set the bowl or smaller dish in it of it, and put it all in the oven.) This is the kind of step you might want to be lazy and skip. Don't. I don't know why. Just don't.
And that is it. You can make it before guests arrive, then pop it in the oven during dinner, and serve it warm. You can make it one day, seal it with cling film, and serve it cold the next day. You can even eat it for breakfast. Not that Grandma Helen would approve of that. Although maybe she would. And maybe that's the definition of true grace.