As I continue to process the loss of my mother, I decided to re-post this recipe for one of her favorite desserts. Mom loved bread pudding, and this recipe was always the one she reached for.
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. . .
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
qt cups milk (Mom uses canned evaporated milk)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 TB grated lemon zest
- 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)
- Distribute raisins onto the bread cubes.
- Combine slightly beaten eggs, sugar and salt.
- Heat butter or margarine in milk until melted. Add gradually to (egg) mixture, stirring well.
- Stir in nutmeg and lemon zest. Pour over bread cubes.
- Set pudding into a pan of hot water. Bake at 350 degrees F for one hour.
- 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.