Great use for Stale Bread

Bread pudding is one of the oldest desserts on earth. It was invented by our frugal ancestors who wanted to find a use for stale bread. “Waste not want not” is an old adage and bread pudding is the perfect application of this saying. When your bread has gotten hard but before it has turned green you can make it into a delicious dessert that is as heartwarming and luscious as you care to make it.

There are as many variations of this recipe as there are bakers. If you want to make it rich you can use whole milk, if you are more calorie conscious you can use skim or one percent. Gather all your bread, about half a loaf is good and break it up into pieces then put it aside. This is not a dessert that relies on exact measurement; it will be good no matter what. If you only have a few slices of bread, you can toast some fresh bread and add it to the stale bread. To take it up a notch use croissants or Portuguese sweet bread or even day old Danish.

If you like raisins in your bread pudding,  place a quarter cup in a small pan with a cup of water and boil for about ten minutes or until the raisins plump up. Drain and mix with the bread. Grease a 13 by 9 glass baking dish. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl combine

3 eggs

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 teaspoons cinnamon

At Christmas time you can replace the cinnamon with nutmeg and the milk with eggnog for a fabulous flavor.

Beat until blended. Place the bread in the baking dish and pour the milk mixture over the bread and press the bread down into the milk mixture until everything is wet, flip the pieces as needed. Allow it to set for 15 minutes. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes and then start to check to make sure that it is cooked all the way through. You can use a toothpick and when it comes out clean, its done. Depending on your oven this can take up to another ten minutes.

Serve the pudding plain, warm or cold or you can make a sauce to go over it. You can even buy a sauce; this is out of this world with caramel or butterscotch ice cream sundae topping. Whip up a pint of cream or pour light cream over the pudding.

It is perfect with a simple custard sauce.

2 cups of cream

1/3 cup sugar

5 egg yolks

2 teaspoons of vanilla

Place in a small sauce pan and cooked until it thickens. Do no let it boil or it will curdle.

If you want to go crazy and take your bread pudding to another level, you can skip the raisins and add dried cherries or cranberries and chopped walnuts or chocolate chips and pecans. Be creative, this is a simple and yet impressive dessert to serve to your family or your guests and at the same time it uses your day old bread. In this day and age no one wants to waste and this helps you to use every last bit of your bread.