Thursday, November 8, 2012

Comforting Bread Pudding

Our friends at Jenn Cuisine and Creative Culinary have created a blogging event to raise awareness of the relief effort for victims of Hurricane Sandy. Food bloggers from around the country have been asked to create a post sharing a comfort dish; something that we would make for someone in need to help them feel at home.  Food brings people together in good times and bad, and this week, you’ll see many of your favorite blogs (and find new favorites, too) banding together to help to those in need.

We aren’t sure what it is about bread pudding that makes it such a revered comfort food; maybe it’s the added warmth of the oven on a cool day or the soft scent of vanilla and cinnamon. Maybe it is the nostalgia; the yearning for a simpler time when dessert was a simple finish to a humble home-cooked meal; a dish made with modest, unpretentious ingredients.

  • 6 cups very stale plain white bread cubes
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups milk
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped pecans, dry roasted (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut the bread into one-inch cubes and arrange on a cookie sheet. Place the bread cubes in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, tossing and rotating midway through toasting. Remove from the oven and let cool while you prepare the custard mixture.

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs on high speed with an electric mixer until extremely frothy, about 3 minutes (or with a metal whisk for about 6 minutes).  Add the sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and butter and beat on high until well blended and the sugar is mostly dissolved.  Beat in the milk, and then stir in the raisins (and pecans if using).

Place the toasted bread cubes in a greased baking dish or loaf pans.  Pour the egg mixture over them and toss until the bread is soaked.  Press the cubes down into the liquid and let sit for about 15 minutes to allow cubes to fully absorb the liquid. Place in the preheated 350° oven and immediately lower the temperature to 300°F and bake 40 minutes.  Increase oven temperature to 425°F and bake until pudding is well browned and puffy, about 15 to 20 minutes more. Dust with cinnamon sugar and let stand for 15 minutes or so before serving.

Several organizations are dedicating their energies to helping the victims of hurricane Sandy.  While this list is by far from exhaustive, some of the larger ones include:
  • RedCross is providing food, shelter, and other forms of support to hurricane victims.  You can donate directly to the Red Cross; you can also text the word “Redcross” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
  • Salvation Army is also focused on providing food, shelter, and support to victims, and takes donations to storm relief.
  • FeedingAmerica is providing food, water and supplies to those who need it as part of their disaster relief program.
To appreciate all the comforting recipes posted by bloggers, you can follow #FBS4Sandy on Twitter, or visit Creative Culinary to view the linky entries.



Jenn said...

Bread pudding is a wonderful comfort dish - thank you so much for helping to spread the word about donating to hurricane relief!

Kimby said...

Hello! I saw your bread pudding on Maureen's blog (The Orgasmic Chef) and was touched to see that you featured it here as a comfort food for those suffering the after-effects of Hurricane Sandy -- it truly is a comfort food! Such a nice guest post "down under" and also a compassionate one here. So pleased to meet you!

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