Bread Pudding


The Covered Dish

Debbie Dance Uhrig

When it comes to comfort foods bread pudding is at the top of my list.  I know, I know, it’s a carbohydrate.  I suppose I could try making it with gluten free bread???? Seriously this is a wonderful closure to any holiday dinner or regular meal for that matter.  Everyone has their own opinions on the best sauce to use with bread pudding.  I’m open to all kinds of toppings.

The history of bread pudding goes all the way back to the 11th and 12th centuries.  Basically speaking this comfort food has a very humble beginning.  In my upbringing wasting food was grounds for a possible verbal lashing.  And so it was in many homes and cultures around the world.  Too bad we don’t see this concern in present day.  If the cook had stale bread something savory or sweet was prepared so the bread was not wasted.   Bread puddings are referred to as a ‘pudding’ because they have a custard sauce base.  Almost any kind of bread can be implemented in a bread pudding.

What really got me going on the bread pudding this week is the fact that Ervin and I traveled up to Kansas City over the weekend, to a friend’s daughter’s wedding.  The wedding was beautiful, it was truly the joining of 2 people passionately in love.  The other part of the great weekend was Debbie & Ervin enjoying time with friends and personal time.  For our personal time we traveled to one of our favorite Cajun and creole restaurants outside of KC.  Unfortunately when I ordered the bread pudding for dessert it was a huge shock.  Right along with the Seafood Gumbo and the Etouffee Ervin ordered.  Those of you who know me, may remember this:  I have to come home and correct it on my palate.  This week I’ll be making gumbo and bread pudding.  And, so sad to say I will probably never travel back to the restaurant again.  Bread pudding is so easy to make, I could not fathom that it could be presented in such a poor state.

In earlier columns I’ve spoken about my time working for the Marriott Corporation.  I had the privilege of working in sales and catering during some of my early days, in Platte County, Missouri.  Frequently on Mondays the main dessert in the employee cafeteria was bread pudding.  It remains one of the best applications of this recipe I’ve ever eaten.  When I asked the chef about his secret he shared!  On Sundays (late 1980-90’s) at the Kansas City Airport Marriott, they served a phenomenal brunch.  There were Danish, muffins, scones and more pastries than you could imagine.  On Mondays the chef used all the leftover pastries and turned them into the most delicious pudding!  I can certainly say that even when I didn’t work for Marriott I frequented the Sunday brunch.

Even stale donuts can go in a bread pudding.  Chocolate bread pudding is also yummy.  Dried fruits, nuts and various spices can be added to a pudding.  I’m still very obsessed with raisins in my bread puddings, others not so much.  This would be a good dish to ‘make ahead’ and just warm at serving time.

Bread Pudding

1 loaf, stale French Bread

1 quart milk, cream or blend

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons vanilla

1 cup raisins

2 apples, peeled and diced

1/4 cup butter

Pull the bread apart and mix with the milk.  Beat eggs and add to bread mixture stirring well.  Add remaining ingredients except for the butter.  Melt the butter in a 9X13 inch pan on low on the top of the stove.  Pour the bread mixture in on top of the melted butter.  Bake about 50 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven until firm.

Prepare topping while baking.


1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

4 tablespoons flour

2 cups water

1 jigger of rum

4 teaspoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cook sugars, water, and flour until clear (high boil).  Add butter, vanilla, and rum, stirring until the butter melts.  This should be about pudding thickness.  Even if it’s runny, it’s wonderful!  Pour over the bread pudding.  Serving both the pudding and sauce warm.






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