It’s Not Pudding without Bread
Hello. I’m Robert Whittie of London, a former online casino owner who sold out to follow my first love: cooking and traditional English puddings. Welcome to my blog, where we discuss not just traditional puddings but the history behind them as well. I have such a passion for cooking and for puddings that I couldn’t stay out of the kitchen. Today, we are going to look at bread pudding, a much maligned and misunderstood pudding, yet a wonderful taste treat.
We know from history that bread has sustained many peoples. It was sometimes hollowed out to form a bowl, into which was then poured sweet concoctions. History tells us that variations of bread pudding come from Asia, Egypt and even India. Caramel, honey, nuts and raisins figured largely in their renditions of the pudding. We are told that they sometimes ate it cold like a cake.
Since prehistory, thrifty cooks have used stale bread as thickeners by making it into crumbs or as the body of a pudding. Since stale bread is considered unappetising, this is where the maligning comes in. In ancient times, stale bread was boiled in milk, having had the crust removed. It was then sweetened as well as having additions like currants or raisins to fill out the sweet treat. A fat such as butter was then added. Early cooks baked the dish and voila! bread pudding.
Loaf of stale bread or several slices at least
- ½ cup raisins
- 2 cups milk
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 lightly beaten eggs
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon or ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350. In a small sauce pan, heat the milk and butter. Cut the crust off your bread and place in your ungreased cake pan corner up. Sprinkle the raisins over the bread slices. After this, mix the eggs and dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in the milk mixture. Pour over the bread and raisins. This needs to set until the bread soaks up the wet mixture, about 20 minutes or so. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes back clean. Top with custard or cream.
Note to cooks: any type of old stale bread can be used, from baguettes to raisin bread (saving you a step) to stale cakes.