While I was growing up, I remember the winters when my Mom would make bread pudding. Yech! It was so nasty! (Sorry, Mom, but it's true.) Not that my Mom's bread pudding was especially bad, but that bread pudding in general is nasty. Kind of slippery and slimy and not much flavor, except for soggy bread. Ooh-makes my toes curl just thinking about it. Anyhow, she made it because my Dad loves it. None of us kids would touch it, though.
I assumed that all bread pudding was this way, until a couple of years ago when I found a recipe for Fruit and Nut Bread Pudding in a cookbook from my Grandma. The picture looked great, and the ingredients list looked promising. I was a little skeptical, but in the end decided it had to be tried. And, it was fantastic! I love it. No mush or slime or soggy bread flavor, but loads of cinnamony, caramely, nutty goodness. It is one of those desserts that is just made for a cold winter night. In fact, I think I'm going to make one tonight.
If you've never liked bread pudding, then you have to try this one. It just might convert you.
Fruit and Nut Bread Pudding
16 sliced day-old bread, torn into 1-inch pieces (I prefer to use good quality french bread)
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
3 cups milk
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 T. vanilla
1 can (21 oz) apple pie filling (personally, I prefer to use homemade, but the store-bought stuff works fine-especially if you buy one with plenty of cinnamon in it)
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup butter, melted
Open up your bread and allow it to dry out overnight. In a large bowl, combine bread and sugars;set aside. In another bowl, beat eggs, milk, cinnamon, salt and vanilla until foamy. pour over bread mixture; mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Cut apples from pie filling in half; add apples and filling to bread mixture. Stir in pecans, raisins and butter. Pour into a greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until firm. Cut into squares. Serve warm or cold with freshly whipped cream.
My kids and I love it warm with whipped cream, but it's equally good eaten cold the next morning for breakfast!