chocolate · comfort food · desserts · Farmers Market recipes · Uncategorized

Mama Steph’s bread puddings: simply decadent comfort food

Mama Steph's cinnamon-chocolate chip bread pudding

 

Bread pudding is such a lovely traditional Southern dessert. Food historians say that it was originally made by home cooks who, due to necessity, didn’t waste a scrap of food, ever. When there was stale bread, some genius, practical cook decided to break it up into chunks and pour a custardy liquid over the bread, adding in other things that might need to be used up in the kitchen:  dried or fresh fruits, bits of chocolate from baking, and so on. I think it was one of culinary history’s most brilliant ideas to date. I was in the mood recently to make some of my own, so I came up with these two variations to share with you here.

This first version I love because I added fresh local peaches (my favorite!) and paired it with my own easy-to-make caramel sauce. The fresh local peaches have a beautiful, bright flavor, unlike canned peaches, but when you need to, canned is ok. I hope you’ll give it a try while our peaches are so delicious!

Mama Steph’s bread pudding with caramel sauce

3 TBS butter

4 TBS butter, melted

6 cups 1-inch cubes stale French bread
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk
2 pounds peaches, peeled and pitted, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Method:

Spray 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray, or spread with butter. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cube the French bread up until you have six cups. (For me it did not take the full loaf, used about 3/4 of it). Place in a large mixing bowl.

Pour cream and milk over the bread, mix thoroughly, and let soak in for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While bread is soaking, place the 3 TBS butter into a skillet, and then add chopped peaches and 1/4 cup sugar; stir to combine and dissolve the sugar. Let peaches simmer for about ten minutes, stirring several times, to allow them to caramelize a bit.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the eggs, the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar, vanilla, and nutmeg and whisk well to combine.

Pour the egg mixture into the bread; fold in gently. Add the peaches next, and fold in gently.

Pour mixture into greased or sprayed baking dish, and bake for 45 minutes to one hour. Bread pudding will puff and turn golden when baked. Center should not be wet, but moist and firm.

Serve warm with caramel sauce drizzled over individual servings, or perhaps with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, instead!

For the caramel sauce:  (optional)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup butter (1 -1/2 sticks)
Mix and cook 3 minutes after it begins to gently boil, stirring constantly.  Drizzle over dessert while warm.
Now, last night  I made an equally delicious, though totally different-tasting, variation on the peach bread pudding. I used  cinnamon to replace the nutmeg, and instead of peaches, a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips were the star of the show. It was richer, denser ( I assume due to the lack of peach juice) and it was really wonderful. The chocolate lovers among your family and friends will thank you heartily if you make this for them! My boys loved it.

Mama Steph’s cinnamon-chocolate chip bread pudding

  • 4 TBS butter, melted
  • 6 cups 1-inch cubes stale French bread
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (you can use more or less than this, to taste)
Method:

Spray 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray, or spread with butter. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cube the French bread up until you have six cups. (For me it did not take the full loaf, used about 3/4 of it). Place in a large mixing bowl.

Pour cream and milk over the bread, mix thoroughly, and let soak in for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the eggs, the cup of sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon and whisk well to combine.

Pour the egg mixture into the bread; fold in gently. Add the chocolate chips next, and fold in gently.

Pour mixture into greased or sprayed baking dish, and bake for 45 minutes to one hour. Bread pudding will puff and turn golden when baked. Center should not be wet, but moist and firm.

Serve warm with caramel sauce drizzled over individual servings, if you’d like.

TIPS:

Using only stale bread is important, because it absorbs liquid ingredients more easily, making the nice, dense consistency that bread pudding should have. If you don’t have stale bread, dry fresh bread out in the over for about 10 minutes or let it set out overnight.

Bread cubes should be measured loosely, not packed in the measuring cup

Either of these bread puddings would be great with a cupful of pecan pieces folded in, if you like nuts.

Enjoy!

 

Mama Steph's peach bread pudding

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You might also like: Tangy lemon squares

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Copyright 2013 Stephanie Hill Frazier. All rights reserved.

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