Friday, December 18, 2009

Quick and Easy Bread Pudding

I have a huge backlog of recipes I have cooked, baked, eaten, photographed and just not found the time to blog about yet. In addition to being a bit busy with the holidays coming, I also found myself on an unexpected visit to the hospital for a few days. I am recovered and I am fine now, and actually in quite good health, but I sure haven't been up to much writing and cooking over the past week or so. So what I bring you today is actually something I made fairly recently, but never got a chance to write about, a really quick and tasty version of Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce I found on Amy's Kitchen.

Bread pudding is a great credit crunching type recipe, as it uses up stale bread, turning it into a really delicious dessert. The bread gets torn up and soaked in a custard, then baked until puffed and golden. Typically, a sweet, rich, creamy sauce is ladled over the top of the baked pudding, often with brandy or some other liqueur added. However in this version, there is no alcohol used at all, making this very kid friendly. It may not be the fanciest bread pudding you have ever made, but it is a nice simple recipe to turn to when you just want a quick and easy dessert fast.

Amy's Kid Friendly Bread Pudding (adapted from a recipe found here)
(about 4-6 servings)

6 slices stale (but still a little soft) bread, torn into cubes
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon or mixed spice
1 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups milk (I used either skim milk or 2%), divided
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix (4 serving size)*, divided in half

Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a small 9" square glass baking dish. Fill a kettle with some water and set it to boil. Tear up the bread and place into the dish. Measure out just 1 cup of the milk, add the egg, sugar, and spice and whisk together until blended. Measure out just half of the dry pudding mix and add to the milk mixture. Pour over the bread.

Set the filled baking dish inside a 9x13" metal baking dish. Set the nestled pans onto the center rack of your preheated oven (you may want to pull the rack out a bit). Go grab your kettle of recently boiled water and carefully pour enough water into the METAL PAN to surround the glass baking dish with about 1" high water. DO NOT pour any water into the glass baking dish.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until the pudding is puffed and golden and is no longer soupy. Remove the glass pan from the water filled metal pan. Allow to cool a few minutes while you prepare the simple sauce, which is just a matter of mixing up the remaining half packet of pudding mix with the remaining 1 1/2 cups of milk. You may pour the sauce over the entire casserole or serve on the side to ladle over individual portions. Allow the sauced pudding to rest 15 minutes so the sauce can soak in a bit. This tastes great warm, but also quite good after it has been chilled.

*If you don't live in the US, then I think you can instead try using Bird's custard powder, although a few adjustments may need to be made. I would use enough powder for 2 portions when adding it to baked pudding itself, but for the sauce, I would recommend preparing a small amount of the custard as directed on the package.

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