Bread pudding is one of the most versatile and easiest dishes to make. It can be a savory casserole like strata or a gooey dessert like a brioche pudding;Best of it, its' hearty and satisfying ,the ultimate comfort food for combatting the crazy days ahead of us.
Savory bread puddings are the perfect weekend meal. All you need is stale bread for starters and the rest is up to you. One of the best recipes is the zuppa montagne , a Piedmontese winter dish made with stale Italian bread, chicken or vegetable broth and Swiss or Fontina cheese. A more textured version is subbing in breadsticks (the Stella D'oro kind works best here) and layering on the bottom of a casserole dish. If you want crunch and texture added shredded cabbage , preferably the Savoy kind , cooked in butter , as a second layer. The cheese is then layered on followed by the broth. Use three to four ladlefuls of this , reserving some of the broth to pour over later. Cook at 325 degrees Farenheit for forty minutes. You can also microwave this too for a quick five to six minutes.There is a popular rosemary and bacon bread pudding circulating on the web right now.This is a custardy version , involving eggs. along with sharp cheddar and of course, bacon. Sauteed onions are also thrown in for sweetness.After baking in a 375 degree oven for forty minutes, it's all set to come out, golden and puffy like a cheese soufflé. For those who love something more exotic , try strata which means layers. Stratas can be made for any meal, breakfast, lunch or dinner. It's layers of bread,peppers. bacon and onions with milk and cream added for pure custardiness.
Sweet bread pudding is a nice change of pace from the usual cakes and pies.It's also a homey treat at a tree trimming or holiday party. One recommendation is using stale baguettes or Italian bread instead of regular white bread.It gives the pudding chewiness and texture along with a mellow yeasty flavor. Still use three or four eggs but cut back on the sugar. Many recipes call for a cup of white sugar. I'd halve that or use a more earthier tasting brown sugar. Milk or cream can be used . These can be mixed., because using just cream can make the dish heavy and dense. Purists will want raisins for more sweetness. Many (including myself) are not fans of this. If you want extra sweetness, try a dollop of salted caramel drizzled on it.A truly decadent variation is New Orleans style which uses a buttery whiskey sauce as an accompaniment. If you want something decadently Gallic , try a brioche bread pudding. Brioche is a yummy French roll, egg and butter rich.It is the perfect ingredient in a decadent dessert. Add cream, and butter along with eggs, sugar and brandy to bake with it into a lush pudding.Lemon or orange zest can be added for more color and flavor. Serve this with whipped cream or crème Anglaise, a sauce that combines cream, sugar eggs and Armagnac brandy.
A savory or sweet bread pudding is a great slice of comfort during this hectic holiday times ahead A slice of strata is a great weekend meal while a brioche bake is the perfect dessert for a holiday party.Make the traditional or create your own for some yummy fun.