What to do with a stale half-loaf of French bread? Bread pudding, of course! The New Best Recipe will tell you that soft American bread is better than crusty European bread, but I am here to tell you that crusty bread works just fine. I used TNBR‘s bread pudding recipe as a guide, using what I had on hand, and here’s what I came up with:
1/2 loaf stale French bread
1 cup milk/half-and-half
1/4-1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/4-1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon
butter (for greasing the baking dish, plus a few pats to melt on top)
Preheat oven to 325 F. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk/half-and-half, and sugar. Add vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. Tear or chop the bread into rough cubes and toss them into the mixture. Let soak for 20 minutes, occasionally mixing so all the bread has been submerged. Butter a baking dish (probably an 8×8″ would be a good size; I used a 9×13″ here, which was too big).
Pour the bread cube mixture into the buttered baking dish and add the frozen fruit. Any fruit, frozen or fresh, is fine here – whatever’s in season, or in the freezer. A friend of mine once made an amazing banana-chocolate bread pudding…and yes, I’m aware chocolate isn’t a fruit. Moving on…
Cut a few pats of butter – maybe a tablespoon altogether – and place these over the top. Then bake for 45 minutes. Allow it to cool and set when it comes out of the oven; it’s good warm or at room temperature, with whipped cream, ice cream, or all on its own.
Awful picture, without flash.
Awful picture, with flash. Just can’t win. I’ll try to get a better picture tomorrow morning when there’s some natural light, even if that means having some for breakfast. (Especially if!)
Ah, much better.
What I’m reading: People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks
What I’m listening to: Alkaline Trio, From Here to Infirmary; The Smiths, The Smiths; Gaslight Anthem, The ’59 Sound; Elvis Costello, All This Useless Beauty; The Postal Service, Give Up