Dark mornings. Crisp air. Craving sweaters and soup. Autumn. I like that word so much better, as opposed to fall, which sounds like some kind of catastrophe or crisis.
I’ve been cooking more now that I can bear to be in the kitchen. I’m not sure if it’s the delicious smells emanating from my stove or the cold weather, but we apparently have a mouse in our midst. A peanut butter-laden trap is now set under my counter… the mouse is awfully cute, but I still scream every time I see him.
Anyway, I’ve been baking a lot. Made the best banana bread of my life last week (recipe to come) and have a loaf of stale bread waiting to be made into bread pudding on my counter now (if the mouse doesn’t get to it first). I’m in love with bread pudding at the moment, its Yankee utility appeals- taking something you’d throw away and turning it into something scrumptious and comforting. I can’t believe I lived the better part of 29 years without bread pudding.
Yes, you read that right. For years, I regarded bread pudding as some kind of old man’s delight, like the grape nut flavor you see at mom and pop ice cream stands. Raisins? Stale bread? How could that possibly be good? Then a friend begged me to make it. I made a recipe I found by chance via Google and was shocked to like it. It was custard-like, a better version of French toast, crunchy and soft at the same time. And it’s got so many possibilities: add some chocolate chips or dulce de leche and you could really have something over the top.Or savory, with leeks and pancetta. It doesn’t hurt that it’s simple to make, either. The perfect dessert to impress a crowd when you don’t have time to make something impressive.
For now, the basic recipe suits me just fine. I’m sure it will you too.
(adapted from momswhothink.com)
2 cups milk (whatever’s in the fridge)
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar (again, whatever you have on hand)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups stale bread, torn into small pieces
1/2 cup raisins
1. Heat milk in a medium saucepan over moderate heat until a film forms over top. Combine butter and milk, stirring until butter is melted. Cool to lukewarm.
2. Combine sugar, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Slowly add milk/butter mixture.
3. Place bread in a lightly greased 9×9 casserole. Sprinkle with raisins and pour batter on top of bread.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes or until set. Serve warm.