Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hump-Day Quickie for those Long Nights: Bread Pudding

I don't know about you, but sometimes it seems that everything comes up at the beginning of the week. I suppose it's nice that by the time I've slogged my way to Friday everything's done, but the beginning of the week is when there's a pile of stuff due tomorrow, hardly anything to eat, no time to run to the grocery store, and I start speculatively eyeing food that's been abandoned downstairs in the kitchen...

Bread Pudding

Heat oven to 350°. Grease a round cake pan.
Tear old bread into pieces and pour milk over them. Mix together. You want to use just enough milk that it all gets absorbed and the bread is completely soggy, but not so much that it turns into soup. There should be at most a spoonful of milk at the bottom of the bowl that didn't quite soak in- pour off any excess. Let sit a minute or two, then squish and mash it with your hands. Beat in the eggs- about one egg per half of a sandwich loaf (that's 1 egg per 9-12 ounces of bread). When mixed, add enough brown sugar (preferably dark) to make it about as sweet as your average cake batter*. Add also baking powder (about a teaspoon per half of a sandwich loaf), and spices to taste. Lastly, stir in raisins to taste.
Pour into pan and bake 30 minutes, until a knife in the middle comes out with no liquid batter on it (ideally it won't quite be totally clean and dry).
This is good warm, room temp, or cold. Tightly wrapped, it keeps well in the refrigerator.

The amounts below are how much I happened to use this time; there's a lot of room for leeway based on how much of what is lying around.
10 oz old bread
¾ c milk
1 egg
¾ c brown sugar, preferably dark
Spices to taste (cinnamon, cloves, mace, nutmeg, &c)
¼-½ c. raisins
1 tsp baking powder

*There may still be little pieces of bread that won't soften and mix in. As long as they're small, they will soften in the oven. So, you needn't worry about them unless the appearance bothers you.
Powdered milk will work just fine, but mix it a bit richer than the directions say to.

The shelf life of white sandwich bread kind of unnerves me. A package of hamburger buns from a barbecue we had six weeks ago has been sitting in the kitchen getting stale. You'd think bread would have a healthy fur coat after six weeks, but these were just stiff. Perhaps in addition to cockroaches and Twinkies, white bread will survive the nuclear apocalypse.
Given that you can't smell it, it kind of looks like tuna salad.

Then again, given that I live in a building with, y'know, other broke college students, one should not ask why a bag of bread didn't expire for six weeks. The real question is how did it manage to sit out on the counter with no one's name on it for six weeks? In any case, this is really easy and made reading some of the dullest writing to come out of the 1300s bearable.
Even if the little bread pieces and raisins look like maggots and flies got in there.

This is definitely not one of the more photogenic things I've ever made. It may look sort of like a cake on top (albeit a somewhat leathery one), but when cut, the texture is somewhere between cake, brownie, and custard.

However, it's actually pretty tasty. It's kind of like a spice cake. I'm not going to go out and say this is the best thing ever, but it's pretty good, really easy, cheap, and makes a long list of things to do go by with a lot less vexation.

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