Happy New Year

Well, it’s 2018 now. I hope everyone has a better new year than the one we just finished. Rather than mull over what has happened — there will be a time for that — I thought I would just talk about bread pudding.

Bread pudding originated as a way to get rid of old, stale bread, so it’s considered a sort of pedestrian dish. But it’s one of my favorites. Maybe that says something about me. Anyway.

I lost the recipe I used the last time I made bread pudding, so I had to find a new one. I couldn’t find one that really appealed to me, so I kind of winged it. I did remember the first step: toast the bread. As I recall, that’s supposed to be better than simply letting it get stale because it drives out more moisture and allows the bread to soak up the custard without getting too soggy. So toast I did.

That’s a loaf of French bread allowed to get a little stale to make it easier to cut into cubes, then toasted for a little while under the broiler. Next I dumped a good bit of skim milk onto the bread and let it soak in. The recipe did not call for skim, but that’s what we have. I added a little evaporated milk to thicken it up. I like lots of raisins, and I added some chopped pecans that were not called for.

This is the second batch I made. The first batch seemed a little too soggy. There’s a happy medium somewhere between soggy and dry. The second batch was a little bit towards the dry end of that range. I think if I averaged the two batches it would have turned out just about right.

I made three separate sauces, regular, premium and mid-grade. The premium had about two ounces of bourbon in a cup of sauce. The regular had none, and the mid-grade had about an ounce.

I used a graphic code that I hoped would be self-explanatory. I find that the older I get, the more my humor gets like my father’s. It’s something he would have done.

Leah taste tested.

At first I thought the strong sauce was a little too strong, but after tasting all three I decided it was actually the best.

Here’s the finished bread pudding, tastefully garnished with half pecans.

I took these up to Chattanooga for Christmas dinner with my brother and his wife, and his two sons. I also got to meet my niece-in-law, my younger nephew’s new wife. My brother, who became an ordained Presbyterian minister after a career in science, performed the marriage ceremony.

I was the only one who ate any of the bread pudding, but I left some in case anyone wanted any later. And some of the strong sauce.

Christmas dinner was one of the high points of the past year, coming after some unfortunate family news just before Thanksgiving. I’m not quite ready to talk about that particular news. For the time being we’ll all just be happy with what we have now.

4 thoughts on “Happy New Year

  1. I love bread pudding, and I’m not too picky about it being watery or dry. Of course, I have to push it away these days since I’m no longer a youth.

  2. I have never had bread pudding, but it looks like a yummy dessert, especially with the strong sauce. I hope all goes well for you and Leah this year. I think your last sentence sums up how we feel at the moment as well… “For the time being we’ll all just be happy with what we have now.” Yes. Happy New Year!

  3. Paul — As much as I like bread pudding, I have wondered why I make it only twice a year at most, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then I remember: Leah doesn’t eat bread pudding, so I have to eat all of it, and there is a lot of sugar in it.

    Robin — The sauce is definitely a big part of what makes bread pudding so good.

  4. Bread pudding can be sublime, or it can just be a heavy, sweet, sticky mess. Yours looks to be of the sublime variety, helped along with the strong sauce.

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