My Mom used to make bread pudding for us all the time when we were growing up. It was a good way to make use of stale bread or left-over crusts that she had removed from sandwiches for a party. She would coat her pan in caramelized sugar which would turn into a sort of self-basting syrup for the bread pudding so there was no need to make any kind of sauce to serve with it. We loved it!
The raisins are traditional. I always liked them in my bread pudding but I remember my little sister didn’t so she used to pick them out. It’s totally fine to leave them out if you prefer a bread pudding without raisins. The recipe still turns out delicious even without them!
Rum-raisin is a common and well-loved flavor combination, but sometimes, just for a change, I replace the rum with cinnamon. I mean, who doesn’t love a slice of buttered cinnamon-raisin bread? Right? And that’s what it tastes like.
OLD-FASHIONED BREAD PUDDING
- 4 cups bread cubes (cut with a knife or tear into pieces by hand)
- ¼ cup raisins
- 4 cups evaporated milk
- 6 whole eggs
- ½ cup butter or margarine, melted
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 Tbsp. rum, optional (or could substitute 2 tsp. cinnamon)
- Toss bread cubes and raisins together in a large bowl.
- In another bowl, whisk all the remaining ingredients together with a wire whisk until well combined.
- Pour the milk mixture over the bread cubes and stir together well.
- Let soak as long as possible, preferably overnight.
To Cook Bread Pudding:
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 Tbsp. water
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Place sugar and water into a 2½ – 3 quart metal bowl.
- Heat bowl over low heat on stove top until sugar is completely melted and begins to turn caramel-colored, swirling bowl quickly to coat bottom and sides with caramel. Make sure to use oven mitts because the bowl will get hot!
- Set bowl aside to let caramel coating cool and harden, about 5 minutes or so. Don’t worry if the caramel cracks as it sits. This is normal.
- Pour bread pudding mixture into the bowl that has been coated with caramel.
- Cover tightly with tin foil.
- Place in large roasting pan and fill roasting pan with enough water to come at least halfway up sides of bowl. This is called a water bath.
- Put into oven and bake for about 1 hour. To test for doneness, remove foil cover and jiggle bowl back and forth. You want to see a slight jiggle in the center of the pudding.
- When done, remove bowl from water bath and place on a rack to cool to room temperature.
- Transfer to refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours. You could also eat the bread pudding warm if you want to.
- To serve, run a thin knife around the edge of the pudding to loosen it from the pan.
- Invert pudding out onto a serving plate with a lip to catch the sauce.
- If you prefer, you can make the caramel sauce by just melting 1 cup of plain sugar without adding any water to it. This goes much faster, but it can burn faster too, so watch your caramel carefully!
- You could also cook the caramel in a saucepot or skillet. Once the caramel reaches the color and consistency you want, quickly pour it into whatever container you’re making your bread pudding in, swirling the container to coat the bottom and sides.
Mom also had what she called her TIPID VARIATION (economical variation):
- 2 cans evaporated milk + 1 cup water
- 5 cups bread cubes
- 4 eggs