Since currently there is nothing to prepare from the garden, I want to share with you an absolutely sublime bread pudding recipe. I have been looking for this version of bread pudding for years, and finally found it last week in my mother's favorite cookbook, of course, that black and orange tome, THE HOUSEHOLD SEARCHLIGHT COOKBOOK, published by the Household Magazines with the original copyright being 1931. If you have one, hold onto it; they have become quite valuable.
This bread pudding is not heavy and weighted down with too much bread as bread puddings are now. Instead, the bread part is about the top one-inch of the pudding and underneath is perfect golden yellow quivering custard. I substituted craisins--dried cranberries--for the traditional black raisins, though you could also use currants or yellow raisins.
Use a good artisan style bread if you can, or leftover cinnamon sweet rolls, scraping off the frosting and nuts and discarding. The commercial puffy white bread is not ideal for this recipe.
THE HOUSEHOLD SEARCHLIGHT'S BREAD PUDDING 1931, UPDATED
1 to 1 1/2 cups bread cubes (no crust) or sweet roll pieces about 1 to 2 inches in size
3 tablespoons cherry-flavored cranberries--craisins
2 cups milk, scalded, set aside to cool
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg or cinnamon
pinch of salt
garnish; modest drift of ground mace
Place a flat pan of hot water in the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Treat a 4-5 cup deep dish (a one-quart souffle dish is ideal) with release spray and set aside. Prepare the bread pieces and set aside. Measure out the craisins in a Pyrex cup, cover with water and microwave for 30 seconds; set aside.
You are now ready to begin. By preparing everything you need in advance, you will save lots of time. The French call this mise en place.
In a small saucepan, over medium heat, heat the milk until bubbles begin to form around the edges of the pan; remove from the heat. Add the butter and allow the mixture to cool.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs slightly, or until broken up. Whisk in the sugar, nutmeg, vanilla and salt; blend, but not enthusiastically. You don't want a froth, just a mass.
Drain the craisins. Gradually whisk in the milk and butter mixture, then the bread and craisins. Transfer to the treated baking dish. Drift a bit of mace on top of the pudding. Lower the dish into the hot water bath. Bake for 1 hour, or until the top of the pudding is firm when touched with your fingertip and it holds together when lightly shaken. Immediately remove from the bath to a rack to cool. Can be served warm or cold, with or without a pitcher of cream..
Essen Gut! Eat Good!