Monday, July 13, 2009

Bread Pudding - Basic and Variations

Most of my favorite recipes are basic, easy to make and allow for variations -- this Bread Pudding certainly does! And, while it serves eight, it also stores well in tight plastic containers if left over.

4 eggs, beaten
2 ¼ cups milk
½ cup sugar
1 tblsp vanilla
½ tsp cinnamon
4 cups dry bread cubes

Optional -- and see below:
1 tsp finely grates orange peel
1/3 cup raisins OR dried cranberries OR cherries OR other dried fruit

Preheat oven to 350.

Beat together the eggs, milk, sugar vanilla and other seasonings. In an ungreased two quart baking pan, spread bread crumbs and dried fruit. Evenly pour the egg mixture over the bread, being certain to cover it all. Bake for 40 minutes then check with a knife – when it comes out clean, it’s done. Allow to cool before serving.

Serve as is or with a sweet sauce of your choice.

Variations are only limited by preferences, starting with the bread cubes. I’ve used left over rolls from the
Basic Bread for Rolls recipe. Those soak very well! I’ve been asked for them when invited for stews, too, attesting to their ability to sop up goodness. If you have no dried bread, you can cube fresh and dry them on a baking sheet for ten minutes in a 350 oven.

Love chocolate better than vanilla? Substitute chocolate milk, even if you have to make it with regular milk and chocolate syrup; use chocolate chips instead of the dried fruit. Cherries go well with this one, too. It's great with ice cream!! Add nuts if you wish.

Speaking of nuts – if nuts are your thing, add a tsp of almond extract along with sliced or slivered almonds as well as the dried fruit of your choice.

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