Friday, November 13, 2009

Bread pudding

First we must all put on our colored tights and pantaloons and prance around our homes whilst singing an ancient folk song in a native tongue. Then we must all –
    jump to the right,
    shimmy to the left.
    Hop back, click your heels to the right,
    click your heels to the left, step, kick, kick, leap, kick touch –

Again!

    That connects with
    turn, turn, time step, shuffle off to Pacoima.

    Okay, everybody up! – colored tights and pantaloons on. Ready?

Here we go:
    Jump to the right, shimmy to the left.
    Hop back, click your heels to the right, click your heels to the left
    step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch –
Again!

That connects with

    turn, turn, time step, shuffle off to Pacoima!
Wasn't that fun? I am winded, I'll tell you that....ohhhhhh....

wait wait

Stop guys!

That was the Bread Pudding DANCE! They're looking for the Bread Pudding RECIPE!!

Well never fear it is here!

First a bit of history about where bread pudding came from. Ancient peoples from prehistoric times enjoyed many kinds of both sweet and savory puddings. Food historians generally credit the beginnings of bread pudding to thrifty cooks who didn't want to waste stale bread and as a result it was common practice to use stale or hard breads in a variety of different ways...including edible serving containers like Medieval sops, foccacia, stuffing or forcemeat, special dishes, like French toast and thickeners or more commonly known today as puddings. Bread pudding recipes during the 19th century were often published in recipe books under the heading "Invalid cookery."

    "It is safe to assume that from the very distant past cooks have sometimes turned stale bread into a sweet pudding, if only by soaking it in milk, sweetening it by one means or another, and baking the result. The addition of some fat, preferably in the form of butter, and something like currants is all that is needed to move this frugal dish into the category of treats, and this is what has ensured its survivial in the repertoire, even on cooks who never have stale bread on their hands...The likely history of the pudding can be illuminated by looking back at medieval sops and at the medieval practice of using a hollowed-out loaf as the container for a sweet dish...an Egyptian dessert which bears a marked similarity to bread and butter pudding, and which was originally a simple dish or rural areas...is called Om Ali' and is made with bread...milk or cream, raisins, and almonds."
    ---The Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson (p. 103)
Recipes for bread pudding have changed through the ages:

A bread pudding

    "Cut off all the crust of a Penny white loaf and slice it thin into a quart of new milk, set it over a chafingdish of coals, till the bread has soaked up all the milk, then put in a piece of sweet butter, stir it round, let it stand till cold, or you may boil your milk, and pour over your bread, and cover it up close, does full as well; then take the Yolks of six eggs, the whites of three, and beat them up, with a little rosewater, and nutmeg, a little salt, and sugar, and if you choose it, mix all well together, and boil it half an hour."
    ---The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy, Hannah Glasse, (1747), p. 109.
A Baked Bread Pudding

    Take a stale five cent loaf of bread; cut off all the curst, and grate or rub the crumb as fine as possible. Boil a quart of rich milk, and pour it hot over the bread; then stir in a quarter of a pound of butter, and the dame quantity of sugar, a glass of wine and brandy mixed, or a glass of rose water. Or you may omit the liquor and substitute the grated peel of a large lemon. Add a tablespoonful of mixed cinnamon and nutmeg powdered. Stir the whole very well, cover it, and set it away for half an hour. Then let it cool. Beat seven or eight eggs very light, and stir them gradually into the mixture after it is cold. Then butter a deep dish, and bake the pudding an hour. Send it to the table cool."
    ---Directions for Cookery in its Various Branches, Miss Leslie (1849) p.299.
There are a million (at least) ways to make it. It varies by regions of the world, by continents, by country and even by state and city and individual neighborhoods.I do know this one is very easy to make, and really good. Here's our family recipe from the traditional annals of my mother-in-law's delicious cooking.

Bread Pudding

Bread pudding is made as much by "feel" as it is by following directions. For instance, the number of slices of bread used will vary depending on the type of bread. Once you've made it a few times it's very simple!

Combine eggs, salt, and sugar. Add milk and vanilla, and then bread pieces. Add cinnamon and nutmeg last. Pour into 1 1/2-qt. baking dish. You can bake it for 2 hours in 300ยบ oven. Or, the key to a making a bread pudding with the custard on the bottom is to cook it in a double boiler where the bread rises to the top, leaving a custard bottom. You will know when the bread pudding is done when the color is golden brown and the pudding has swollen in the casserole dish. Like a quiche, it will collapse as it cools.

Bread pudding in Ireland is called crubeens and did you know?

    "To make bread pudding an oven is really necessary - you can't make it very well in a pot over a fire. And the oven needs to be in the home - and very few homes had ovens of any type until the 18th century. In cultures where bread was primarily baked by a professional bakery - as in France etc. - homes did not have 'ovens'. Puddings of all types were very popular in England. Bread pudding most likely originated there in the late 1600s."
    (Food Facts & Trivia:www.foodreference.com/html/fbreadpudding.html )
Hard Sauce Melt butter in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and liquor. Beat until smooth. Serve over bread pudding then.....
    Jump to the right, shimmy to the left.
    Hop back, click your heels to the right,
    click your heels to the left
    step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch – and

Enjoy!


Sources:

The Food Timeline--Question box

Steps for the Bread Pudding Dance

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