Monday, March 7, 2011

Lundi Gras: Bread Pudding!

Today in NOTL:  Cold and clear, with noonish temps of 22F/-5C under sunny blue skies.  Gorgeous day!

I've been having quiet fits here, as I've had trouble getting into the blog lately.  Turns out I was logged in under the Absolute Jeanius blog, argh.  Quite a relief to have that figured out!

So: today is Lundi Gras, the day before Mardi Gras... and my family and friends back home will be partying hard, I'm sure.  Here, not so much.  We'll probably have pancakes tomorrow.  *half-hearted confetti toss*  Let's see....parades, parties, ***king cake***, beads on one hand.....on the other, a pancake.   No contest, imho.

Anyway, if you're not going to a Mardi Gras parade, don't worry.  You can enjoy a little New Orleans right in your own home.  Here's a recipe for traditional bread pudding, the kind Mama used to make.  Note: it's best with French bread, and a great way to use stale bread.

Bread Pudding  
1 loaf stale French bread 
1 cup raisins 
2 cups milk 
3 eggs beaten 
1/2 cup melted butter 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 tablespoon cinnamon 
1/2 cup brown sugar

Oven 350*F.  Brownie pan (8x8, 9x9 or so) buttered.
1.  Tear the bread into little pieces into a mixing bowl.  Keep some larger bits for the top.
2.  Pour the milk over the bread and let it soak.
3.  Stir the bread, which will break down a bit.  That's ok.
4.  In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients and combine with bread mixture.
5.  Pour into buttered pan and add larger bits to top, pressing into the mixture.  It's ok if the surface isn't completely smooth.  
6.  Bake about 40 minutes or so - top will be browned and set. 
7.  Serve warm or cold with hard sauce, ice cream, whipped cream, etc.

Hard Sauce
Hard sauce is basically a runny frosting, imho.
1/2 cup softened butter
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar (icing sugar) 
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 or 3 Tablespoons liquor, enough to get the consistency you like.

1.  Cream the butter and sugar. 
2.  Add the vanilla and liquor.
Serve over bread pudding.
Rum, whiskey, bourbon, Southern Comfort - all make a lovely delicious sauce.  Mmm.  

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