I’ve been so remiss — I put up the recipe for the instant bread pudding only, which is a sad, mousy cousin of real home-baked bread pudding. For about 120 days I’ve been working at developing the ultimate bread pudding recipe based on concepts culled from dozens of recipes I’ve pulled from absolutely everywhere.
My theory of bread pudding is that it mustn’t ever contain cinnamon; cinnamon just makes it taste like apple pie custard, and if you want apple pie, what are you doing fucking about with bread pudding? What you want, instead, is lots of vanilla. (Me and vanilla are getting to be quite an item.) And the best bread pudding I’ve made contains Nestle’s butterscotch chips. But leave them out if you want; the whole idea of bread pudding is to make it your own. Just avoid fruit and cinnamon like the plague, and you’re on the right track.
The other thing you need to know is how to properly chunk the bread. I always use a sourdough or French for texture. If you chunk it too finely, all your butterscotch or chocolate chips or whatever will sink to the bottom and form a dispiriting mass. Chunk it too large and you’ve got a mouthful of custardy cardboard. The key size for soughdough and French is a chunk about 1″ in diameter; crust pieces should be chunked about half that size.
So, now that you’re educated and without further ado, I give you:
Ultimate Basic Bread Pudding
- 12 oz. day-old sourdough or French bread, torn into chunks
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 0.5 cup butter (1 stick), melted and cooled
- 2 cups sugar: I use about 1.5 cups brown and 0.5 cups white, but you can use any mixture of white and brown
- 4 cups cream (I use 2 cups heavy whipping cream and 2 cups half & half)
- 0.25 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons Singing Dog vanilla extract; or 1 teaspoon Singing Dog vanilla paste
Chunk your bread into a large bowl and allow to sit uncovered for a while and get a bit dry. While the bread is sitting, beat 3 eggs in a large bowl; beat in sugar, cream, salt and vanilla; beat in butter last, because if it’s too hot it will partially cook the eggs. When this entire mixture is well blended, stir in the bread chunks. Your mixture should be about the consistency of thick oatmeal. Then stir in any add-ons: semisweet or milk chocolate chips and butterscotch chips are my favorites.
Butter one of those oblong baking pans and pour in the pudding mixture. Set pan of pudding on a cookie sheet in the oven in case of overflow. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cover pan with tinfoil to keep top from getting too dry, and return to oven. Bake for another 40-60 minutes or until pudding looks done and is sort of a “jiggly thigh” consistency. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes. May be served hot, warm or cold.
How to Serve: Screw that “serve cold” crap. The only way to eat bread pudding is piping hot — I reheat mine in the microwave in a shallow bowl — with half & half poured over it and then whipped cream over all that. I will waive the whipped cream if I absolutely have to, but eating bread pudding without a cream product poured over it is like eating cereal without milk or popcorn without salt: a hollow, empty experience.
How to Rationalize: Bread pudding contains eggs, milk and bread. So there you are with all your wholesome food group basics, except for vegetables. And fuck vegetables anyway — they’re not a real food group. Everyone knows the four basic food groups are dairy, grain, animal protein, and coffee. So you can live on a diet of bread pudding with impunity, and I swear to God, don’t worry about fat content. I have lost about 15 pounds since I stopped eating lowfat placebos. This bread pudding will not only warm your heart and your soul; it will make you thin.