A favorite recipe that we have enjoyed countless times began with a scratchy little note I made as my grandmother Clara demonstrated what should go into a good bread pudding. I still have the original note on a tablet sheet of yellow lined paper, and have added my own notes to it a few times. It is wrinkled, splattered and in terrible condition. I actually misplaced it and managed to find it in a thorough search of my miscellaneous loose recipes a couple of days ago. Strangely enough, yesterday I had a request for the recipe and was so relieved I still had it! The timing was oddly coincidental.
Granny raised chickens and we grew up eating lots of fresh eggs. And any economical cook knows that a great way to use up eggs and salvage stale bread is in a pudding. One of the great discoveries (in my opinion) was the addition of challah bread to make a pudding. We ordered this dessert at the Alley House in Pagosa Springs, Colorado a couple trips ago and since that time, I have used this same bread for a rich, delicious bread pudding.
Granny Clara’s Bread Pudding
8 eggs (pullet) or 6 regular
3/4 C white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
l/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 qts. milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 challah bread loaf, torn into bite size pieces and left to dry a bit
raisens (optional) slivered almonds sprinkled on top (optional)
Beat eggs, add sugar, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, and milk. Place bread pieces in a 12-cup greased baking dish (I still use my grandmother’s decorative glass Fire King dish to make bread pudding and custard). Pour milk mixture over bread and let sit for 5 minutes so the break can absorb the moisture. Sprinkle with raisens and/or sliced almonds. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes–test by inserting knife into center. If milk mixture clings to knife, bake 10 additional minutes. Should be a nice golden brown. Cool in baking dish on a rack while you prepare sauce.
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
l/2 cup water
l/3 cup unsalted butter
1 tsp. maple flavoring (can substitute dash of nutmeg with 1 Tbsp. bourbon)
Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Mix dry ingredients with water, add to butter stirring constantly to avoid lumps. When sauce is thickened, remove from heat. Pour while warm over individual servings of bread pudding.