A few nights ago, I decided to make bread pudding. Now, it wasn’t that the idea just sprung to mind and I acted on it; I had been thinking about it, actually sneaking up on the idea for a couple of days, which is how I roll as a busy mom. What that means is that I knew I didn’t really have the time to leisurely toil in the kitchen creating non-essential, sugar-laden treats—hell, I’ve barely had time to get dinner on the table lately—but something just said “bread pudding” when I was at the grocery store the other day, so I bought three loaves of French bread. I couldn’t officially add it to my “to do” list; that would have been the very definition of insanity. So I figured that I would just force my hand by buying three loaves; if I bought one loaf, I may let it sit until it got too stale to use and then toss it. If I bought two loaves, and one ended up getting eaten by the hungry wolf pack I live with, that would only leave one loaf, and one would not be enough for my bread pudding recipe. But if I bought three loaves, one could get eaten and I wouldn’t care—nor would I be off the hook because two loaves was exactly what I needed to get the job done.
I really don’t like to bake, and that’s because I don’t like to measure. I come from a long line of Italian lady cooks, and measuring isn’t something any of them ever did when they made a roast, or a stew, or a sauce: You cut and slice and shred and press and you put it all together in a big pot and then you cook it real slow and then boil some pasta and you eat it. Basta (that’s it/enough).
So when it comes to baking, the non-measuring habit really doesn’t work. So I avoid it. But with bread pudding, it’s not that critical. See, it’s a big pan of bread, milk, sugar, eggs and vanilla. What could possibly go wrong? On this particular night, I was doubling the recipe, and I had enough bread milk, but barely enough sugar, and not enough eggs. (You can’t have barely enough eggs; you either have enough or you don’t; but 1/3 cup of sugar = almost ½ cup, which equals “barely enough,” which equals “enough.” That’s my kind of recipe.
So there I was at 9:30 p.m., feeling like having a glass of wine, which meant I couldn’t go to sleep yet. Bread pudding is really easy to make; it was obvious that I had found my window. So I pulled the trigger.
I got it all put together, added a little more milk because it didn’t seem like there was quite enough, and tossed it in the oven. 30 minutes later, it was bread pudding. It wasn’t exactly the same as the last time I made it, when I was more generous with the brown sugar than the white sugar, and used egg nog at the last second to make it more festive (and ensure my kids wouldn’t touch it), not to mention ultra silky and moan-inducing.
What I like about bread pudding, in addition to being torn between eating it and rubbing it all over my husband, is this: I don’t have to be exact with my measurements. I can slap it together. While I drink. It doesn’t get any better than that for a busy mom who likes to cook. And that, my friends, is how it got its name.
Here’s my recipe. Let me know how you (but not your husband) like it:
Slap, Eat and Moan Bread Pudding
- 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
- 5 large beaten eggs
- 2 cups milk (don’t use non-fat)
- 3 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 cups cubed artisan French bread, pugliese, or even sour dough (no airy grocery store brands)
- 1 cup packed (dark or light) brown sugar
- ¼ cup butter, room temp
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp vanilla
- ¼ cup liquor of choice: brandy, Tuaca, Kahlua, etc.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease a long pan (13×9, but others will work).
- Mix the granulated sugar, beaten eggs, milk and vanilla; pour over the bread.
- In a separate bowl: mix the brown sugar, butter and nuts. Sprinkle this mixture all around the top of the bread as evenly as you can.
Mix all ingredients EXCEPT the liquor in a small pan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is melted and then add the liquor. Pour over bread pudding or serve in a dish for guests to spoon on individually.
Photo is Wikimedia Public Domain