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Bread Pudding Recipe … Pain Perdu

Elvis Elvis

The typical bread pudding recipe is a rustic French dessert made with day old, stale (left over) bread, eggs, milk, sugar, and flavoring ingredients, such as nutmeg, cinnamon, etc…

The French term for bread pudding Pain Perdu, which literally translates to ‘lost bread’ – reflecting the age old cultural habit of recycling bread too hard to be eaten.

Pain de Campagne (country bread) and Baguette generally go hard after two days of exposure to the dry French air sucks the little moisture out of the french breads…

And so a Frenchmen visits his or her local patisserie or boulangerie every other day to pick up a fresh baked batch of bread, and maybe some ecclairs, or petit choux as a treat.

Bread Pudding Recipe ... Pain Perdu

And the stale, hardened bread? Traditionally it is soaked overnight in an egg, milk +/or cream, sugar + spice custard mixture. The bread absorbs bread absorbs the sweetened and flavored fluid to maximum capacity and is then placed in a buttered baking dish. The remaining custard is then poured to cover the bread, and the dish baked til the egg proteins coagulate to set the pudding.

In England, a Buttered Bread Pudding recipe involves buttering hard slices of bread and layering a similar baking pan with raisins in between. This layered dessert is soaked with a similar sweetened custard and baked accordingly.

Many variations exist of this, and most, simple French desserts. Please experiement with different kinds of fruit and berries, spices and sweeteners.

Ingredients: Yield: one 9x 13 inch baking dish

1 ea very large loaf, day old, sliced ½” thick, trimmed if crusty
10 ea large eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
A few pinches cinnamon, optional
2 tbsp vanilla extract
2 ½ cups heavy cream
2 ½ cups milk
1-2 tbsp melted butter
Powdered sugar for dusting

Techniques/Methods:

1. Brush the baking dish with the melted butter to coat the bottom and sides.
2. If the bread is still too soft, you can toast and butter the slices. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired. Layer the slices of bread into the buttered baking dish.
3. Whisk the eggs by hand or in a mixer. Add the sugar, then pour in the cream and milk, whisking to combine uniformly. Strain the mixture.
4. Pour this custard over the bread to completely soak the slices. Butter a piece of foil to cover the dish. Let sit overnight, especially if the bread is very dry.
5. Before baking, check to make sure the bread is still covered with the custard.
Place the baking dish on a sheet pan and bake covered at 325°. Check after 30 minutes to see if the custard is baking evenly. Rotate the pan if needed, and continue to bake covered until the custard puffs up slightly. Uncover, and continue to bake until firm at the edges, soft but set in the center.
6. To serve, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature, with a side of fresh fruit, fruit compote or a little maple syrup serving for breakfast.

Variations:1. For an autumnal alternative replace the 2½ cups heavy cream with 2 8 oz cans of pumpkin pie filling and 1/2 cup of milk to balance out the consistency. Flavor with fresh ground cinnamon, at least 1 tbs mixed into the custard, and scant reserved to sprinkle on top.

Optional: replace sugar with brown sugar.