As a follow up to my last post, this one is dedicated to Abuela Kayo’s other claim to family baking fame: bread pudding. When I think of pudding, I think of a soft, sweet Creme Brulee. There was nothing worse that going to her fridge hoping to find something awesome to satisfy my sugar crave, only to find bread pudding. Such a disappointment! I don’t recall anyone else in my family eating or liking it so I tend to think she made it just for herself. I did try it on several occasions and I couldn’t get past that ultra-firm-but-still-soft texture of the crust, combined with the thick, smooth texture combined with the raisins and almonds…it was just too much for me.
Origin of bread pudding
Bread pudding is not a Cuban dessert, although you will find it in all restaurants and bakeries. It has been around since the 11th/12th centuries. It was commonly referred to as “poor man’s pudding” because it was popular among the lower classes. A versatile dessert, you can use anything for the bread such as croissants, Challah, muffins, ciabatta bread, danishes or even old donuts. You can liven up the flavor by soaking the raisins in rum or Grand Marnier prior to incorporating them into the mixture. Raisins can also be substituted with chopped cherries, pineapples or even chocolate chips, if you wish. Knowing there can be so many variations in flavor to this dessert, I may have to reconsider my stance on it and will have to make one soon.
Questions or comments? Let me know below!
- 1/2 lb of white bread
- 2 c milk
- 3/4 c white sugar for caramelizing baking pan
- 4 eggs
- 1 c sugar
- 4 tbsp butter, melted
- 2 tbsp dry white cooking wine
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 c raisins
- 1/2 c toasted almonds
- 1 tbsp flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut bread up into small chunks and soak in a large bowl with the milk.
- Make the caramel by placing 3/4 cup of sugar in a small sauce pan and cooking it slowly over medium heat, stirring constantly until thoroughly melted. Transfer the caramel to a baking mold large enough to hold 6 cups of liquid, and carefully coat the bottom and a bit of the sides of the mold. The baking pan may get hot while doing this so you may want to use towels or silicone grips to do this.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs with 1 cup of sugar, butter, and cooking wine.
- Add nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, almond extract, the soaked bread, raisins and almonds(which have been dusted with the flour separately).
- Pour this mixture into the baking mold and place inside a larger pan, like a roasting pan with high walls, and fill the roasting pan with water until the water is level with the top of the pudding mixture.
- Bake for two hours or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
- Let the mold cool down fully before removing from the mold or it will separate/break apart.