Go ahead. Taste this creamy, rich, festive bread pudding, popping with farm-fresh apples and soaked, dried cranberries. Catch a whiff of sweet vanilla mingling with just a hint of orange zest. So moist you don’t need to take extra time to make a sauce–unless you want to–this pastry stands up just fine on its own.
Yum bliss and frugal too
Can frugal taste good? Oh yeah. French chefs know this secret. For centuries, they’ve taken yesterday’s stale bread and turned it into roll-your-eyes yum. Foodie bliss.
It was in a French bistro that I got my first taste of bread pudding. They laced theirs with rum sauce, topped with a generous dollop of Chantilly cream. It’s the only time in my life I’ve been able to swallow anything with rum in it. My waistline attests to how many swallows!
Not far from my office, that little bistro, with its friendly staff, colorful salads, hearty soups, and it’s surprisingly decadent delicacy made from yesterday’s bread, nourished body and soul.
They’re long gone now. Today, I make my bread pudding, and I have to say, this one–this recipe–is so good I don’t even bother making a sauce (most of the time) or whipping up cream.
Who knew something so good could come from stale bread? With so many of us trimming our grocery budgets lately, we have to watch our food waste. If we don’t, we might as well throw dollar bills in the compost bucket. Right? Why not turn stale bread you would normally discard into an amazing dessert that makes you want to sneak into the kitchen, grab a fork and fold off just one more nibble?
Unless you’re craving that saucy touch, serve this pastry with a light dusting of powdered sugar, and prepare for melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
Dress it up if you want to
Of course, if you want to dress it up, go ahead. We sometimes drizzle a little pure maple syrup on ours, as you see in the photograph at the top of the page.
When I want to make a little more of a show, I whisk up a super quick sauce to drizzle over the plate just before serving.
So simple, yet so good: For each serving, whisk together one tablespoon yogurt to one-quarter teaspoon maple syrup. Lift the spoon high over the plate and dribble a zig-zag line of the sauce over the pudding. Dot a few tiny drops on the side and serve. Delicious!
However you dress it, serve it warm
Best served warm, this pastry reheats well, lightly toasted in a toaster oven, if you’re lucky enough to have leftovers. We don’t own a microwave, so I can’t say how it re-heats there. After three years, this is still a favorite holiday and special occasion treat any time of the year. I hope you and your family enjoy this recipe as much as we do.
This is one of those recipes that does not need precision, so bring the little ones into the kitchen and let them help. They can measure and mix before baking. A six-year-old will love being responsible for stirring the bread mixture every fifteen minutes or so. Give him a timer and teach him how to set it, then watch him take his responsibility as seriously as rocket science.
After the pudding bakes and the pan cools a bit, let the tykes use the sifter to dust their own pieces. Here’s how my granddaughter likes her bread pudding, with extra powdered sugar sprinkled over the top. Of course I let her sprinkle it herself! That’s one of the perks of being a grandmother, right?
If you’re worried about the sugar high, think cupcakes piled with frosting. This is nothing like that much sugar! Everybody giggles and has a fun time, and then they get to eat their confectionery designs, however snowy they may be.
Are you a bread pudding fan?
Did you have a frugal grandmother who baked up wonderful desserts from almost nothing? Or did you get your first taste of a marvelous bread pudding at a French bakery? Tell us about it! Or tell us how you use stale bread at your house. And do come back and let me know if you try this recipe, won’t you?
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Dear Reader: If you think you’ve seen this recipe before, you may well have. I first published it in 2013, on the now-defunct site Squidoo. When HubPages bought Squidoo in 2014, I opted to have my pages transferred to their site. Now, in October 2015, I’ve brought it home–to YayYay’s Kitchen.