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Bread pudding

Posted by Jeanne on September 30, 2009

The summer after I graduated from law school, I took the bar exam.  I was supposed to spend all of June and July studying for the stupid thing, and for the most part, I did.  But I also took 5 days and went to New Orleans with my awesome friend Erika.

She was there for a work conference, so I mooched the hotel room and tagged along on the evening activities.  One evening, the whole group of us went to The New Orleans School of Cooking for a class – they taught us how to make gumbo, shrimp creole, and bread pudding.  This bread pudding is a modified version of their recipe, and the caramel sauce is an addition from The Joy of Cooking.

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Bread Pudding, modified from “Class ACT:  Simple, Authentic Recipes from the New Orleans School of Cooking,” by John Demers.

A 1-lb loaf of crusty bread, cut into approx. 3/4″ cubes

2 tsp vanilla

3 cups stuff (the recipe suggests 1 cup of raisins, 1 cup of coconut, and 1 cup chopped pecans.  I always change this, because raisins are just sad little grape carcasses.  Also, I hate them.  This time I used 1.5 cups chopped apple and 1.5 cups chopped walnuts.)

3 cups milk

3 eggs

1.5 cups sugar, plus additional for sprinkling on top if you like

8 TB (one stick) melted butter

1 tsp cinnamon (other spices as you see fit – I added garam masala to the apple one .)

Mix everything together.  Pour into a 9″ x 13″ or larger buttered baking dish.   Top with additional sugar if you want a crunchy, almost creme-brule-esque  sugar top.  Or don’t.

Bake at 350F for about an hour; you don’t need to preheat the oven.

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Caramel Syrup, from the Joy of Cooking

Melt 1.5 TB butter.

Add 1.5 cups brown sugar and

6 TB water

Stir these ingredients until the sugar is dissolved.  Bring to a boil.

Cover and cook for about 3 minutes until the steam has washed down the sides of the pan.

Uncover and cook, without stirring, to the soft-ball stage, 234F.

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Pour quickly over the whole bread pudding.

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My favorite part is the pooled caramel around the edges.

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