'Ever heard the expression "everything old, is new again"?
That's what comes to mind when I think about bread pudding. Growing up, bread pudding was always made when there was an abundance of bread and a fear that the bread would become moldy. Fortunately, it was so good, it didn't matter that it was a "thrown together, make due" dish. It was simply bread, eggs, milk/cream, sugar, and vanilla. Adding coconut and a lemon sauce, courtesy of my mom, were about as fancy as it would ever get.
Now, you can dine out at some pretty fancy places and there's bread pudding on the menu. White chocolate/croissant/pistachio to peach bourbon/praline, the choices are unlimited when it comes to bread pudding. I've even seen brioche/mushroom/prosciutto bread pudding as a savory appetizer.
Recently, the whole abundance and fear situation came together for me to make bread pudding. I'd seen Nigella Lawson use the technique of spreading her bread with jelly, creating sandwiches for her bread pudding, and knew that I would give it a try. Think cinnamon raisin bread with apple butter!
Apple Butter Raisin Bread Pudding Serves 6-8
1 loaf sliced cinnamon raisin bread, I used Pepperidge Farms
1/2 cup apple butter 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3 eggs 12 ounce can Pet Milk, evaporated milk not condensed milk
1/2 cup half & half
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons raw sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide bread and spread a thin coating of softened butter on half of the slices(about 4 tablespoons of butter). Spread the remaining slice with the apple butter. Put bread together into sandwiches and cut into quarters, diagonally. In a large bowl, beat eggs until well mixed and frothy. Whisk in sugar, Pet Milk, half & half, and vanilla. Use 1 tablespoon of butter to coat bottom and sides of a baking dish (9x9). Dip each cut sandwich into the egg mixture, coating them on all sides. Arrange points up in the buttered baking dish and pour remaining egg mixture into dish. Dot with remaining softened butter and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake for 40 minutes. Feel free to serve with ice cream.