You may have noticed that, much like my penchant for lemon-based posts earlier in the year, that my daughter and I are going through a bread pudding phase of our lives. Bread pudding is something I have been making for 23 years, since a friend went to cooking school in the early 1980s in New Orleans and brought back a killer recipe. It was one of those things I made once a year or so, usually for crowds. But we have been experimenting with the whole idea of both sweet and savory bread puddings and trying different variations.
In June, I made a large batch of bread pudding for a dinner party to celebrate the visit of my friend Raj and his wife PK. It was a twist on the traditional version, utilizing fresh berries, which were in season. My daughter had two Canadian friends visiting, and they loved the dish. So my daughter made it again during their stay, using what was in her cupboards (usually chocolate chunks). And she continued to make it throughout the summer.
I also tried a savory bread pudding with chard and cheese that went over quite well, which I shamefully did not blog about.
In September, Alexandria and I got to talking and decided to experiment and make breakfast bread puddings. In this post, we talk about a rich orange version and one that incorporated maple syrup. They were most delicious and disappeared within a day. Easy to make and serve for a brunch.
Yesterday, being Sunday dinner, required a dessert. Because I am still recovering from my 10-day book tour, I am a bit fried. I was already making a homemade gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce, so anything complicated was out of the question. I noticed some dinner rolls that hadn’t been particularly good, just languishing on top of the refrigerator and suggested we make bread pudding. Having just bought a tasty chai ice cream, and made a chai rice pudding with leftover rice the night before, I thought about chai bread pudding. Nothing like sticking to a theme until you can’t stand it anymore! So we ground some cardamom, added in some cloves, ginger and cinnamon, and popped it in the oven. We served it with a modified crème anglaise, and once again, we hit the jackpot. I think the addition of finely diced crystallized ginger (or maybe grated fresh ginger) would be nice, and you could throw in raisins if you are so inclined. (I personally hate raisins, and refer to them derogatorily as rat turds.)
So, if you find yourself with some leftover bread, rolls, whatever, try out our latest version of bread pudding:
Chai Bread Pudding
10 oz. stale bread
4 cups milk (or combination milk and cream)
2 cups sugar
8 T melted butter
2 t vanilla
1/2 t ground cardamom
1/4 t ground cloves
1/2 t powdered ginger
1 t cinnamon
Heat oven to 350 degrees and butter a large baking dish or 13x9 pan. Cut or tear bread up into large chunks and place in pan.
Mix milk, sugar and eggs. Add in melted butter, vanilla, and spices and stir. Pour over bread and work the mixture through with your hands. Pat down gently to even out.
Bake 75 minutes or until cooked in center (if the bread isn’t stale enough, it takes longer to absorb the liquid).
Serve with ice cream (frozen or melted as a sauce), whipped cream, or crème anglaise and enjoy!