Friday, April 27, 2007

The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

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.


  1. I don't know why ppl like white bread,to me it's just gooey little thingie.I love wheat bread or whole grain with lot nuts in it.Rye or Pumpernickel with olive oil to dip.YUM!!!

    Of course,pudding with bread is sinful but you can't put it down halfway which is a sin too!;D

    Looks great sra.Enjoy and starve yourself for a day!:P

  2. This sounds really good. White bread, sugar and cream... I almost want to make it... but I'm scared of all the calories :D Just kidding.

  3. anyway u can do this without eggs?
    looks yummy though

  4. girl! that is one mouthwatering pudding.

  5. When i saw the half a loaf of bread in my pantry, I was thinking of making bread pudding and here you are :) Btw, I like your post titles always....catching and intriguing :)


  6. Yes, those breads have attitude but don't make soft, melt-in-the-mouth puddings, in my experience.
    Monica, thank you. Hope you venture to make it soon.
    Raji, I just googled 'eggless bread pudding' and the third link had a recipe for that.
    Reena, thanks. The photos came out good, better than my usual, at least.
    Shn, so did you make it? Thanks.

  7. i have altogether stopped eating whit e bread after tasting whole grain bread.
    u wicked girl. u had to make this pudding that too with cream and post the recipe to tempt us. u have proved ur point:) haven't made this at home, i depend on my good friend for bread pudding and its easy to blame her for the temptation;)

  8. Who cares about healthy or unhealthy when its something heavenly like this!!!! I will do and walk on the treadmill for an hour ;)

    Looks great :)

  9. ummm, your write up enhanced the taste of that pudding. I enjoyed reading it. I could even feel the taste of it in ur write up. lovely looking pudding. I garnish it with saffron and pistachios.

  10. I haven't had white bread in a while, but maybe I should get some... just for the pudding ;)

  11. Looks great and great idea. Surely i will try. Beautiful pics also. Thanks for sharing.

  12. So blame ME now and give your poor friend a respite, Sia! :)
    Coffee, thank you. I cycled for 30 minutes and walked the treadmill for 30 minutes today.
    Sharmi, thank you for the lovely compliment. Do you mean you garnish a similar egg-bread pudding with saffron and pista, or are you talking about the double-ka-meetha/shahi tukra variety?
    Oh, Mandira, do! And join us in the gym - we'll probably huff and puff more happily in company.
    Jyothi, thank you. Welcome to my blog!

  13. Lovely looking bread pudding.

  14. give me that bowl, white bread or not! YUMMY! if i had to calculate the pros/cons of every dish i eat, i would probably go to bed hungry:(
    quite a shower of comments you managed to get urself there ;-)

  15. great dessert...I have tried it a few times but never made it...sounds simple enough..maybe I sould give it a try...thanks for a nice write up...enjoyed reading it...thanks for sharing

  16. Thank you, Prema!
    Richa, you're right! A rare treat shouldn't be taken so seriously.
    Thank you, Dilipbhai, do try it!

  17. Sra, it is always interesting to read your write up. Once i have this I think I need to starve more than a day:) just kidding. Lovely dish. Viji

  18. Viji, thank you.
    Unfortunately, I think you're right about the starving :(

  19. I love wheat Bread Sra. But I dream of slathering my bread toast with golden butter and aprinkling sugar on it.

    You made that yummy bread pudding and only had two spoonfuls !!! don't believe you girl :)

    And you have a mid afternoon tea group at work ? How relaxing

  20. Sandeepa, yes, we make a nice group at tea, it's lots of fun. About the bread pudding -, I had more the next day {blush}

  21. first time to your blog and with all those flavours I bet the pudding tastes great

  22. Welcome, Sushma! Thanks.

  23. Hehe.. I was thinking abt arteries myself before i came to the end of post. This is in my to-do list for a long time. But was not quite sure abt the texture.

  24. Hi Suganya, thanks for stopping by - it's quite a nice texture.

  25. I made a bread pudding recently (but with vanilla), your version looks much more exciting with the orange/ginger and nutmeg flavours. I made Jack Daniels sauce with it - half a cup butter, half a cup water, half a cup sugar, boil til sugar is dissolved then stir in 2 oz whisky. Great with coffee.

  26. Pepper, that sounds tasty. Would the sauce be hot or cold or room temp?

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