Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Lemon Spice Bread Pudding

Sorry for the delay in posting the recipe... now humor me and read how this dessert came about:

Kroger is the main grocery store down here (if you don't do all your shopping at Wally World) and they often have "10 for 10" specials on things like frozen vegetables, some produce and this time, loaves of Kroger-brand bread. Usually I buy Bunny Bread Whole Wheat White-- sort of the local Wonder Bread. I like real bread a lot more than the fluffy stuff, but Bunny runs about $1.50 a loaf, and Joe will actually eat it. When I saw that yellow "10 for 10" sticker, like Pavlov's dog, my brain said "10 for"

OK. It was horrible. Joe made a PB&J and the bread was disintegrating as he spread. I told him not to eat any more and I would turn it into French toast or something more palatable.

The bread sat in the cabinet, probably contemplating life as bread crumbs, while I busied myself with a bunch of other foods that needed eating... most notably the huge completely dried out pork loin that we cooked to an internal temp of 165 degrees --5 degrees less done than directed-- for 40 minutes longer than directed, and the rotisserie chicken Joe brought home on one of his impromptu shopping trips, and the sam's club chicken sausage featured in previous posts. Let's just say we had a lot of soups this week.

Then on Tuesday, amid drizzly skies and a day of longing for something sweet, Lemon Bread Pudding popped into my mind. I'd never made it or eaten it before, so I went first to my Amish cookbook. Sadly, no bread pudding recipes. Next I hit my copy of Joy of Cooking, which not only had plenty of versions to choose from, but several paragraphs discussing this history of the dessert. The best part-- the author said bread pudding is like a sponge that can absorb whatever extras you want to toss in. My kind of dessert.

So I followed the basic recipe, with some tweaks, and added lemon zest to satisfy my need for sunshine.

Lemon Spice Bread Pudding
12-16 oz stale bread cubes, crusts removed (this ended up being most of the loaf, minus heels and maybe 1 or 2 slices, I'm sure if you used a more substantial loaf of real bread, it would be less than a loaf)
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
grated zest of one lemon

Joy of Cooking called for 4-5 cups of 1/2 inch bread cubes, my fluffy stuff filled 6 to 7 cups, but I needed that much to absorb the egg mixture.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2 quart baking dish, then add the bread.
Whisk eggs, sugar, extract, zest and spices. Then whisk in milk. Pour over bread. Joy says to let it sit for 30 minutes, pressing bread down with a spatula to make sure bread is thoroughly soaked with egg. Again, fluffy bread needs no coaxing, mine was pretty much beginning to dissolve after 5 minutes, so I stuck mine in the oven directly. Oh, not quite.

Water bath: Place a thin dishtowel in a 9 by 13, place bread pudding on top, set in the oven, then pour in enough scalding hot water to submerge pudding casserole 1/2 to 3/4 of the way in water. Cooking it this way is supposed to help the texture. I liked how mine came out, and I'm not sure what bad things would have happened if I didn't put it in a jacuzzi to cook.

No comments: