Or is it? Bread pudding, I mean. As we are now told, white bread (and flour) is one of the nastiest things to ever happen to this world, we’d rather get our carbs from wholegrains. Yes, it’s soft and tasty, goes down better than breads made with wheat and oats and rye and spelt, but healthy it is not, in large quantities, of course. It’s the bread universe’s equivalent of chips or nuts – start with one, there’s no telling when you can stop.
Ever gone on a strict diet or altered your eating plan to make it low-carbohydrate? Sometimes, you’ll find yourself entertaining visions of fluffy, white bread, smelling all fresh and yeasty, slathered with butter and jam. If your resolve has weakened and you’ve found yourself reaching for just that one croissant spread with melty butter and jam, you’re well on the way to more!
And if that’s not enough, we have to have bread pudding as well! Another luscious, utterly satisfying, wicked, tempting, all-such-adjectives creation. Not only is it white bread, it’s soaked in a bath of eggs, sugar, cream and milk, showered with raisins and nuts and served with beaming smiles urging you to taste just a bit! As if that would suffice! And to think this super-rich dessert was the poor person’s way of using up stale bread three or four centuries ago!
If you’ve noticed that I don’t have too many dessert recipes on my blog, you would know this post is the equivalent of a blog binge – but what do you know, I tasted very little of it! Two scoops went into the fridge but the lion’s share went to feed a hungry friend who stays in the hostel, and our mid-afternoon tea group at work.
We had been talking about bread over tea, and I was telling my friends how an uncle of mine said one shouldn't waste the crusts on bread in bread pudding but save them to lattice the top. This was met by hoots and snorts of sarcasm and indignation - as if it wasn't painstaking enough to cut the crusts off the bread, you had to save them, glaze them with egg white and criss-cross them over the pudding too, had you?
I don't recall how the mood slipped into a more benign one but the little conclave had my hostel friend longingly ask me to make bread pudding. I promised her I would, but told her I would put some marmalade in it because I wanted to use up some that was hanging on to my pantry.
Oh yes, put in anything you want, I'll eat anything, she said.
Excitedly, and thinking of my blog, innovative recipes, Sitemeter statistics and a torrent of comments, I'll put in some fruit as well, mangoes perhaps, I said.
Oh, please don’t put fruit, that will make it healthy, she said.
Oh, okay, then, it will be truly unwholesome, I promised.
Though I went looking for sophisticated recipes in my numerous cookbooks and on Google, a bad night’s sleep and another search on the Net led me to this very simple, no-fuss, relatively light and healthy recipe with no added sugar. It seemed unusual too, in that it asked for lemon juice and no vanilla.
However, to honour my promise of making it thoroughly unhealthy, I had to fill it with sin – that involved substituting most of the milk with heavy, heavy cream and adding two tablespoons of sugar though none was mentioned. I do know that I didn’t use the ¾ cup of orange marmalade that the recipe called for, but I really wouldn’t claim it a saving grace. The method stays uncomplicated, and my tea group said it didn’t taste eggy despite the lack of vanilla, and that the lime juice added a nice flavour.
Here’s how you go about it:
5-6 slices white sandwich bread
3 tbsp soft butter
Orange-ginger marmalade - as much as is needed to spread on those slices – I only know I used 1 or 1-1/2 tsp per slice.
3 eggs, beaten lightly
1 cup heavy cream
¾ cup milk
2 tbsp sugar
3 tsp lime juice
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Heat milk, dissolve sugar in it, let cool.
Toast bread, spread with butter and jam. Cube the toast (don’t cut the crusts), put in a buttered dish/casserole.
Mix eggs with cream and milk, lime juice and nutmeg.
Pour this mixture (custard) over the bread.
Bake in a slow oven at 150 C (300 F) for 45 minutes.
Try hard to ignore the sound of your arteries thickening. (G)Ulp!
PS: There are several recipes for bread pudding with alternative, wholegrain breads on the Internet.
Dessert Bread Pudding Orange Ginger Marmalade