Retro Recipes: Classic Bread Pudding

Bread pudding is one of those desserts that are old school, classic and comforting.  A dessert you remember your grandmother or mother making.  Often the pudding was made from leftover stale pieces of bread and rolls saved in the freezer until they had enough for the recipe.

I remember my mother making this bread pudding all the time.  She would get her 4 X 6 inch recipe card out of one of her cookbooks, and create a wonderfully moist and tender pudding that was always best hot, right out of the oven.  My family would let it cool just enough so we did not burn ourselves, then proceed to eat large pieces, often with vanilla ice cream on the side.

I finally looked at her recipe card and saw that the date on it was 1963, the year I was born uh, many years ago.  Next to the year were the letters LAUSD, which stand for the Los Angeles Unified School District.  I couldn’t believe this delicious bread pudding was being made in the cafeterias of the LAUSD, so I asked where she had gotten the recipe.  She told me that the recipe had been given to her by the manager of the school cafeteria because my mother was always raving about it!  Obviously school lunches have changed, and not for the better.  Just ask Jaime Oliver. . .

My Mother's Bread Pudding Recipe Card, Side 1
My Mother's Bread Pudding Recipe Card, Side 2

I am going to transcribe the directions exactly as written on the card.  Who am I to mess with perfection?

Classic Bread Pudding


12 oz bread cubes (approximately 18 slices)

8 oz raisins, washed

1 lb eggs, slightly beaten

1 lb granulated sugar

1 tsp salt

8 oz butter or margarine

3 qt milk (Mom uses canned evaporated milk)

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 TB grated lemon zest


  1. Use day old bread. Remove crusts from two sides of each slice.  Cut into 1/2″ cubes. Put into a large size pan (Mom uses a large Pyrex casserole dish. Be sure your baking dish can fit into a larger pan, such as a large roasting pan, because it is baked in a water bath)
  2. Distribute raisins onto the bread cubes.
  3. Combine slightly beaten eggs, sugar and salt.
  4. Heat butter or margarine in milk until melted.  Add gradually to (egg) mixture, stirring well.
  5. Stir in nutmeg and lemon zest.  Pour over bread cubes.
  6. Set pudding into a pan of hot water. Bake at 350 degrees F for one hour.
  7. Stir twice during the first half hour of baking.  (I didn’t remember my mother stirring during the first half hour, and she admitted she always forgot. The pudding always came out delicious regardless!) Pudding is done when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

There is a note scribbled on the top of the card to serve the pudding with lemon or nutmeg sauce.  I would also suggest creme anglaise, whipped cream, chocolate-rum sauce or my old family favorite vanilla ice cream.

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista

4 thoughts on “Retro Recipes: Classic Bread Pudding”

  1. I love bread pudding. Such a remembering MOM recipe isn’t it? Wonderful post, brought a smile to my face, thanks for sharing the originals!

  2. I love finding old recipes like this one! History on those index cards, so precious to find these little gems of culinary delight!

    Bread pudding is a staple where I come from, and this one is a classic!

    Bon appetit!

  3. I love it!! I especially love the photo of the recipe card – what a great idea!! My grandmother ran the cafeteria at Beverly Hills High School in the 50’s and 60’s – I still have a number of those recipes (on similar cards). Haven’t looked at them in a while. Hmmm.. that is giving me an idea!!

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