Monday, May 12, 2014

Bread Pudding , Comfort Food, and the 1940's

I have a lot on my mind today. I've got a really angry, red rash ALL over my body (including my eyes!) that itches like crazy. A side effect of one of my antibiotics I was taking for my pneumonia/bronchitis bout. Just saw the doc for more drugs (sigh) to offset the side effects. The neverending story.



But all this bothersome illness made me remember my grandmother, "Granny" on my mother's side. She took care of me off and on, over my childhood (when I wasn't in foster care with old Mrs. Black and her teen devil daughters). Granny alaways made me milk toast when I was sick. Later, my mother did the same so I'm sure she also got it as a child. A nauseating (now) mixture of dry toast covered with sugar and cinnamon, and drowned in hot milk. I loved it then, and it translated to love and care. Foods that gave comfort in childhood are never forgotten.

My aunt Fran's little boy, Scotty was the same age as me, and Granny babysat him a lot too. We played together, and this is a photo of the three of us. You can be certain that the car did not belong to anyone in our family. We were all dirt poor in those days, and Granny lived in trailer parks as far back as I can recall. She took in laundry and raised six daughters all by herself. (Husband flew the coop when the chicks became too numerous to feed.) Scotty Carruthers, my little cousin, however, became a very successful pharmacist in later life.



My maternal grandmother was from Arkansas, the deep South, and yes sir, she could COOK. The things I remember most are fried chicken, homemade buttermilk biscuits, and most especially her bread pudding which was and is beyond comparison to any other on the planet. She heaped the top of it with a soft, toast colored meringue, and I have never seen another cook make bread pudding that way.

So, now, living alone with stale bread ALWAYS available (I can never eat a loaf fast enough, even when I freeze half.) I decided it was time to have my own bread pudding habit, something I love and something very easy to make. No way would I ever mess with that much meringue, so the changes I made to a basic recipe are to simply add a bag of dried fruit and nuts (so popular in the produce departments these days) to the mix. I always want something for dessert or for breakfast, and this great use of leftover bread gives me both.

Bev's Bread Pudding




Ingredients:

6 slices day-old bread
2 tablespoons melted butter
4 or 5 beaten eggs (i use 5 for more custardy texture)
2 cups of milk
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3.75 oz bag "Cherry Cranberry Pecano" salad topper.

Directions:

  • 1. Preheat over 350 degrees.
  • 2. Tear bread into small pieces into an 8" square baking pan (I spritz the pan with Pam first).
  • 3. Drizzle bread pieces with melted butter and cinnamon. Add fruit/nuts mixture.
  • 4. Whisk or beat eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla (I do mine in the blender on Pulse) and pour over bread. Push down on any bread that isn't covered being sure to soak.
  • 5. Bake uncovered in preheated over for 45 or until top springs back when lightly tapped.


  • The nice thing about this recipe is you can add anything you want, blueberries, pineapple, whatever turns you on. And the web is full of rich sauces you can make to dump on top. I'm sticking to the basics right now, thrifty and delicious.

    2 comments:

    1. I love puddings and go to diners with great frequency to get them. Where does one get "Cherry Cranberry Pecano"? I want it.

      ReplyDelete
    2. I found my little packets of dried fruits and nuts in the produce dept. of Wal Mart where I (alas)
      have taken to shopping because of the ridiculously lower prices. It gets on my nerves to do so,
      but hey, lucky pauper days. I know Publix also has similar stuff in their produce dept.

      ReplyDelete