By Henry Schliff and Grace West
If you’re looking for a way to use leftover bread while creating a sweet treat for breakfast or dessert, bread pudding may be the answer.
Way back in the 11th century, the English were the first to create a bread pudding that served this purpose well.
When Henry Schliff owned and operated the Orange Blossom Bakery in Buxton a few years back, he was surprised how popular his bread pudding became after using leftover homemade bread from lunch the day before.
Now, Henry is an Ocracoke resident and continues his bread pudding tradition cooking at the Castle Bed and Breakfast.
There is a twist to the recipe he uses now, though. As is often the case, accidents lead to unexpected treasures. One morning at the Castle, a guest tried his bread pudding and said, “I thought bread pudding was sweet.”
Henry blanched realizing he had forgotten to include the sugar.
Being innovative, he whipped up a sweet sauce and poured it over the pudding and saved the morning treat.
Happily, everyone, including Henry, liked this “mistake bread pudding” even better. So, here is the “new” bread pudding recipe where all the sugar is in the sauce.
One loaf of French or Italian bread
Note: Bread that has little fat, no additives, and has an airy interior works best. When making bread pudding on Ocracoke, sourdough bread from the Graceful Bakery is highly recommended.
½ cup raisins
½ stick butter (4 Tbs.)
2 cups milk
1 cup half-and-half
1 Tbs. vanilla
3 eggs, beaten
Using a serrated knife cut the bread into four cups of medium-sized cubes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8 X 8-inch baking dish. Evenly distribute the bread cubes in the dish. Sprinkle the raisins evenly over the bread cubes. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan melt the butter over moderate heat. Pour in the milk and half-and-half and continue heating until the liquid is lukewarm. Whisk in the beaten eggs and vanilla. Carefully pour the mixture evenly over the bread cubes. Using the back of a table fork, press the bread cubes gently into the liquid. Set aside for one hour, pressing the cubes down from time to time. Place the pudding into the oven.
While the pudding is baking, make the sauce:
Brown sugar sauce
4 Tbs. butter
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup applesauce
1½ tsp. molasses
1 egg yolk
1 to 2 Tbs. dark rum (optional)
Melt the butter over moderate heat in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisk in the sugar, applesauce, and molasses. Continue whisking until the sugar is dissolved. When the mixture becomes warm, but is well below the boiling point, whisk in the egg yolk.
Continue whisking for about one minute and then remove the sauce from the heat. Set the sauce aside. Continue baking the pudding until it becomes firm, lightly browned, and puffy and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean (45 minutes to one hour).
Place the pudding on a heat resistant surface. Reheat the reserved sauce briefly. Pour the sauce evenly over the pudding. Cut around the outside edges of the pudding using a sharp knife.
Cut the pudding into serving portions and press into the edges of the portions with the side of the knife to let some of the sauce run underneath. Serve with whipped cream.
Henry Schliff has been the chef of a French, Italian, and Mexican restaurant and most recently the owner of the Orange Blossom Bakery in Buxton. He is the author of two cookbooks.
Terrilynn Grace West lives, gardens and works on Ocracoke, providing warm water massage therapy.