~”Chanticleer- In the Bleak Mid-Winter”~
Winter time like no other time of the year is a time to allow nature to rest and allow our bodies to rest as well. So as we tend to hibernate during the winter months, it’s also time for healing, taking preventative herbs, cuddling up, stay in doors so much more, sleeping longer hours, eating nourishing filling meals, listening to winter music, doing a little knitting, sewing or crocheting, enjoying winter hobbies, going to bed early and cuddling up with some good books in bed, watching good movies in bed, drinking hot teas, hot chocolate and toddies.
So in my kitchen fridge you will find a large bowl filled with large delicious juicy oranges, pears, apples and pomegranates along with delicious precooked meals ready to warm up like baked macaroni and cheese, beef chili, stews, homemade soups and delicious cinnamon raisin bread pudding.
I tell you it’s always been pomegranates that remind me of my childhood winter days along with a warm bowl of cinnamon raisin bread pudding and there’s nothing like it in the dead of winter. I used to always bake some for my family back in the day often and the aroma is amazing. Now just imagine a candle in that scent…. nice right.
Well my husband still loves it whenever we have some bread pudding. But it wasn’t until we vacationed in New Orleans for the first time did I learn about the various types of sauces that go along with bread pudding. I must say that I love the sweet vanilla rum or caramel praline sauces the most.
Anyway the difference between “good” bread pudding versus “great” bread pudding is always in the firmness of the bread itself. Why it took my mother about two or more weeks to save up enough of some old half way stale, dry slices of bread and bread ends stored in the fridge in order to make her delicious cinnamon raisin bread pudding come out the best. The reasons she used only stale or old bread and ends was because back then people never wasted anything and the bread was perfectly stiff and dry enough to hold up in the milk and not get soggy, because it seems soggy bread didn’t cook well.
So here’s my moms old fashioned simple ingredients recipe.
“Mom’s Old Fashioned Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding Recipe”
About a loaf of refrigerated white bread (preferably 2-3 day old (or longer but never molded) or the thick kind of bread made specifically made to make french toast, I like to use Sara Lee’s Artesano white bread
4-6 beaten yellow egg yolks plus
2 beaten egg
1-2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1-2 Tablespoons of Vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoons of rum flavor
1-2 cups of white sugar (I like 2 cups in mine)
1 stick of melted butter
1 cup of raisins (preferably soaked in rum or brandy then strained)
2 cups of condensed evaporated milk or half and half
2-3 cups of whole milk or half and half (you may need to add more milk to cover)
1 cup of butterscotch morsels (optional- I add butterscotch sometimes to give it some pop of sweetness and flavor)
one 2 quart glass baking dish
with it’s glass top (or foil)
2 large mixing bowls
2 mixing spoons
Directions: For Oven or Crock Pot
Preheat oven at 350 degrees. For crock pot on high.
1. While melting the butter in the baking dish in the oven or crock pot.
2. Tear apart each slice of bread into chunky bite size pieces into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle and mix in the cinnamon and nutmeg throughout the bread pieces then set aside.
3. With a blender or whisk, beat the eggs well in a mixing bowl, then add and mix in the sugar first and then the milk, then the vanilla extract and the rum flavor and the raisins.
4. Then pour the wet mixture over the bread pieces and half of the melted butter. Be slow and fold in the liquid mixture onto the bread as you pour turn the bread very lightly and very little because you do not want mush. It’s important that you do not mix or stir or blend too much, just very little.
5. Pour the wet bread mixture into the baking dish or crock pot that has the second half of melted butter in it and do not stir.
6. At this time you may need to add more milk because you want enough milk in the pot to cover the bread but not to over flow out of the pot.
7. Place baking dish in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, until well done. (check it with a knife or fork just as you would a cake to make sure it is done in the middle after one hour because if it is still sticking to the knife then bake it a little bit longer until it is done but do not let it burn or scorch the bottom.)
8. For crock pot let it cook for up to 2 hours on high and check with a knife in middle that it comes out clean, if not let it cook a bit more till done but do not let it burn or scorch the bottom.
9. Remove dish from oven and let dish cool for about 15 to 20 minutes.
10. Turn off crock pot and let it cool for 15 to 20 minutes.
Serve this bread pudding alone or top it with bread various pudding sauces or ice cream.
~I hope you enjoyed this post and have a great “Winter Sunday” filled with rest and peace.”~
~”Loreena McKennitt-In The Bleak Midwinter”~