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

Krack Krispies aka Browned Butter Rice Krispies with Almonds and Cherry Raisinets

Browned Butter Rice Krispies with Almonds and Cherry Raisinets

Rice Krispie treats are a fast and easy sweet snack to make.  I remember making them as a child, and just this morning saw a commercial with a father and son making Rice Krispies together on a rainy day.  Rice Krispie treats are as ingrained in the American culture as baseball.

Never one to blindly follow as recipe, I wanted to give my krispie treats a little oomph. I had some Cherry Raisinets in the pantry, which I had used to make Cherries Jubilee Ice Cream. The dark chocolate covered, chewy dried cherries would be very nice in a rice krispie.  But I wanted more oomph.  Nuts maybe?  Yes!  Toasted nuts? Yes! Toast the nuts in browned butter? Oh Yes!

I’ve nicknamed these rice krispies treats Krack Krispies, because I could not stop eating them!  I was picking at them as I was trying to take a photo! They are that good. I managed to stop myself long enough to get off a few shots, and them stood next to my mini photo studio (my living room window) and ate even more of these krack krispies.

Marshmallows, Cherry Raisinets and Slivered Almonds

Krack Krispies

3 TB butter

2/3 cup blanched slivered almonds

1 pkg (10 oz) marshmallows

6 cups Rice Krispies

1 pkg (4 oz) Cherry Raisinets, roughly chopped

In a large saucepan over medium low heat, melt the butter.  Add the almonds, and watching carefully, let the almonds and butter brown.  Stir the almonds occasionally as they brown to insure even browning.

Slivered Almonds and Butter in Saucepan

When the almonds and butter are light golden brown they are done.

Slivered Almonds Browned in Butter

Add the marshmallows to the saucepan, and stirring continually, melt the marshmallows until smooth.  Remove the sauce pan from the heat.

Smooth Melted Marshmallow with Almonds

Place the Rice Krispies into a large bowl.  Pour the melted marshmallow over the cereal.  If you have nonstick silicone spatulas use them to mix.  If not, butter a large spoon and mix the cereal and marshmallow until well coated.

Roughly Chopped Raisinets

Add the chopped Cherry Raisinets and mix quickly so the chocolate does not melt too much.

Scrape the treats into a 13 X 9 X 2 pan that has been buttered or sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

Rice Krispies Mixed and Ready to Be Spread

Press the Krack Krispies into the pan to make an even layer.  Let them cool completely before cutting in squares.

Browned Butter Rice Krispies with Almonds and Cherry Raisinets

Now try to eat just one.

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista

Cinnamon and Ancho Chile Scented Avocado Ice Cream

Today is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day!  But I am not a big fan of chocolate ice cream, though I do love chocolate in most other incarnations.  I decided to re-post a recipe I developed, for those might want to try an ice cream that is a little different…Avocado Ice Cream.


Avocado ice cream? Really?  An avocado is a fruit, so why not.  There is no written rule that says ice cream has to be sweet all the time, so why not try a more savory ice cream?

This idea came to me while tweeting with a fellow food writer, Erika Kerekes about the overabundance of avocados from her tree.  She asked for a recipe, so I decided there was no time like the present to develop one.  We are in avocado season, so they are plentiful and easy to find.

This recipe is easy to make, although you will need an ice cream maker.  These days, many companies manufacture ice cream makers, which means the price is within reach of most people. I use a Cuisinart, which requires you to freeze the insert for about 24 hours before making the ice cream. Be sure to follow the instructions for your machine.

As you can see from the picture it looks like you’re are eating a big bowl of guacamole with a spoon ( not the there is anything wrong with that!) but the ice cream is rich and creamy, with a subtle hint of spice.

Cinnamon and Ancho Chile Scented Avocado Ice Cream

Avocado Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup milk

6 egg yolks

3/4 cup + 1 TB granulated sugar, divided

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 ripe avocados

2 oz lemon juice

1/2 tsp ancho chile powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Over medium heat, scald cream and milk.  Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk together yolks, 3/4 cup of sugar, salt and vanilla until light and creamy.  Add small amount of hot cream to yolks, whisking quickly to temper the egg mixture.  Gradually whisk in remaining cream.  Place mixture over water bath, whisking constantly, until mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from water bath, place bowl immediately into ice bath. Stirring occasionally, cool mixture, then strain into another bowl.  Cover and chill for at least one hour.  This can be made up to two days ahead.

While custard is cooling, scoop the flesh of the avocados into food processor or blender. Add remaining 1 TB of sugar, lemon juice, ancho chile powder and cinnamon.  Process until very smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed.  Place avocado mixture in refrigerator to chill along with the custard.

When ready to make the ice cream, stir the avocado and custard together, until well blended.  Following the instructions for your ice cream maker, freeze the ice cream.

The ice cream will be a soft serve consistency when it comes out of the machine, so if desired place ice cream into freezer safe container and freeze for another hour or two.

Try it with a churro, or make your own cinnamon-sugar tortilla chips.


Cheryl D Lee on Foodista

Cherries Jubilee Ice Cream

Cherries jubilee Ice Cream

Cherries Jubilee ice cream?  Don’t you usually serve Cherries Jubilee OVER ice cream?  Yes.  But why not try a new spin on an old classic?  I come from a family of ice cream lovers, but being lactose intolerant it is not real high on my must-haves list.  A few years ago I bought my mom an ice cream maker, since she LOVES ice cream.  Has she ever used it?  Uh, no.  Since I’m the chef in the family I make sure to give that machine a good work out now and then.  And my mom and daughter are the happier for it.

I recently got some samples of the new Cherry Raisinets, and after eating myself into a sugar stupor, I starting thinking of all the fabulous things I could make with them.  That is, if I had enough left… Once I emerged from the sugar coma I decided the first thing to make was ice cream.  I didn’t want to just throw the candy into some vanilla ice cream, I wanted to make a new recipe to showcase these delicious little chocolate morsels.  Cherries Jubilee is an old time dessert that is served over vanilla ice cream, and often flambeed with brandy.  It makes a spectacular presentation (as long as you don’t set the tablecloth or your guests on fire) and is delicious.  I decided to use the flavor profile of Cherries Jubilee for my ice cream.  Since my daughter would be eating this I eliminated the brandy.

Cherries Jubilee Ice Cream Ingredients

Cherries Jubilee Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup milk

6 egg yolks

1 cup brown sugar

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 TB fine orange zest (I use my trusty microplane zester)

8 oz Cherry Raisinets

Over medium heat, scald the cream and milk.  Be sure to watch the pot, as cream tends to boil over the minute you turn your back!

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the yolks, brown sugar, salt and vanilla until light and creamy.  Place the orange zest into another large bowl, and reserve nearby.  Add a small amount of hot cream to yolks, whisking quickly to temper the egg mixture.  Gradually whisk in the remaining cream.  Place the custard mixture over a pot of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.  Whisk the custard constantly, until mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the bowl from the water bath, and strain the thickened custard through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl with the orange zest. This is very important as the heat from the custard will release the oils from the zest to perfume the custard. Place the bowl immediately into an ice bath. Stirring occasionally, cool the custard.  Cover with a piece of plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface of the custard to prevent a skin forming. Chill the custard for at least one hour.  This can be made up to two days ahead.

When ready to make your ice cream, follow the instructions for your ice cream maker.  Add the Cherry Raisinets in the last few minutes of freezing, again according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

Soft Ice Cream in Machine

The ice cream will be a soft serve consistency when it comes out of the machine, so if desired place ice cream into freezer safe container and freeze for another hour or two.

Soft Cherries Jubilee Ice Cream

The subtle flavor of orange, the deep richness of the custard and the dark chocolate covered sweet/tart cherries make this a treat, even for the lactose intolerant.

If you would like to try a sample of Cherry Raisinets leave a comment by Friday, and I’ll choose a winner!

Cherries jubilee Ice Cream

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista

Life Happens… and the Recipe for the Best Pound Cake Ever

Meyer Lemon Tree

Life Happens…and it has been happening to me with a vengeance! In the past few weeks I threw my baby girl a 3rd birthday party, nursed her back to health after she got sick, then I got sick, then my mother got sick. But then my mother got sicker, and sicker and is now hospitalized.  She will recover, and is getting stronger every day, thank goodness!

But my other baby, Black Girl Chef’s Whites has been neglected.  I will be back with more of my original recipes soon, but for now I am re-posting a recipe for my fabulous pound cake, which is one of my mother’s favorite cakes to make and to eat.

Organic Meyer Lemons

Some may disagree with my rather opinionated title, but this really is a special pound cake.  I grew up eating this cake (and have the hips to prove it) and I have not tasted a more scrumptious pound cake.

Many years ago in Louisiana this pound cake recipe was handed down to my mother Vera Lee by her cousin Zephyr Stephens.  And years before it had been handed down to Zephyr.  And now it is mine.

Growing up in Pasadena, CA everyone had some sort of fruit tree in their yard.  We have Meyer lemons, so that is what I use to make the glaze for the cake.  Because Meyer lemons are sweeter and more floral than other lemons, it really makes a difference in the flavor of the cake.

The cake is called “Millionaires Pound Cake” and you can find variations on many recipe websites.  The common link seems to be that the recipe was passed down from one generation to the next.  If anyone knows the exact origin of the recipe I would love to know.

Best Pound Cake Ever

1  lb butter, room temperature

3 cups sugar

6 large eggs, room temperature

4 cups cake flour, sifted

3/4 cup milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp lemon extract


1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (any fresh lemon juice will work)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter and flour 16 cup angel food/pound cake style pan.

In electric mixer cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time, beat until incorporated.  Add flour and milk alternately, ending with the flour.  Add extracts, beat well, making sure to scrape down bowl as needed.

Pour batter into prepared pan, bake for 1 1/2 hours until pick inserted in cake comes out clean.  Cool in pan on rack for 30 minutes, then remove cake from pan.

Mix glaze ingredients and pour over the cake while still hot.

Let the cake cool (slightly at least) then devour.  And you will devour it…

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista