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10/12/2012

~ Pumpkin Bread+Apples = Autumn Bread Pudding ~

IMG_3031I just love making "quick" breads.  "Quick bread' is an American term that refers to bread that is quick-to-make because:  it doesn't require kneading or rising time.  It originated during the American Civil War, when the demand for food and bread was high.  Innovative cooks began to rapidly produce bread and baked goods that were leavened with baking soda, rather than yeast. Bread pudding, which can be made using any type of bread, was also a way for innovative, frugal cooks to make use of leftover or stale bread, and, I for one am grateful for their invention!

6a0120a8551282970b0133f530c894970b-320wiTwo days ago I made and posted my recipe for ~ Joe's Favorite "Roasted" Pumpkin Bread ~ (pictured just below), which I made from homemade ~ Roasted Pumpkin Puree ~, made from sugar pumpkins Joe grew in his garden (the puree is pictured here)!

You can find both of those recipes in Category 17. About the only thing better than eating this bread on the first day, is using it to make bread pudding on the third.  Because quick bread usually contains some sort of fruit or fruit puree, fragrant spices, and often times raisins and/or nuts:   If you've never thought to make bread pudding with leftover quick bread, I'm here to say... 

Quick bread makes fabulous bread pudding! 

IMG_2917A bit about bread pudding:  It is officially classified as a bread-based, baked dessert made with cubes or slices of bread that get saturated with a mixture of milk, eggs,  sugar, vanilla and spices. Almost every cuisine/country has a version of it, because bread pudding is a product/invention of frugal cooks who wanted to find a use for stale bread.  Bread pudding, which is quick and easy to make, can be assembed and baked in any type of appropriately-sized, 2-inch deep casserole dish (square, rectangular, oval, etc), or, in individual ramekins.  Even though bread pudding is immediately associated with dessert, knowing how to make savory bread pudding as well, is a creative cook's best kept secret:

IMG_2753It is as versatile as quiche and can contain all sorts of meats, cheeses and vegetables ranging from asparagus to zucchini.  Pictured here is my recipe for ~  English Muffin, Sweet Sausage, Eggs & Cheese:  My Super-Simple, Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole ~. Assembly begins with a mixture of cubed English muffins and ends being drenched in a mixture of milk, eggs, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Technically, this is a savory bread pudding, and you can find the recipe in Categories 9, 17 or 20!

Bread pudding is so easy, you "almost" don't need a recipe!

IMG_2933~ Step 1.  Line a 12 1/2" x 8 3/4" baking pan with parchment paper and spray the inside of 4, deep, 2-cup ramekins with no-stick cooking spray.  If you do not have 2-cup ramekins, an 8" x 8" x 2" casserole may be substituted.

~ Step 2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees with oven rack in center. 

IMG_2939~ Step 3.  Using a serrated bread knife, slice:

2, 9-ounce loaves of: ~ Joe's Favorite "Roasted" Pumpkin Quick Bread ~

into 1/2"-3/4" cubes.

IMG_2892Distribute half of the bread cubes (or, the cubes from 1, 9-ounce loaf) evenly amongst the bottoms of the four ramekins.

IMG_2944~ Step 4.  In a 1-quart measuring container, whisk together:

6 large eggs, at room temperature

2 large egg yolks, at room temperature

1/2  cup sugar

1 1/2  teaspoons pure vanilla extract, not imitation

1 1/4  cups heavy or whipping cream

Set aside.

IMG_2949~ Step 5.  Peel and core:

2, 7-8-ounce Granny Smith apples 

and chop them into 1/2-3/4" pieces.

IMG_2959Evenly distribute the apples, on top of the bread cubes, in the ramekins.

Using your fingertips, lightly press down on the tops of the apples, to create a bit of extra headspace at the top of each ramekin.

IMG_2971 IMG_2966                                    ~ Step 6. Evenly distribute the remaining bread cubes over the top of the apples in the ramekins.

Note:  Because the bread is going to brown as it bakes, at this point, I take the time to place the bread cubes into the ramekins, crust side facing down.  This will prevent over-browning or burning.

IMG_2985 IMG_2981~ Step 7. Rewhisk the egg mixture and slowly pour it into the ramekins, giving it plenty of time to drizzle down through all the crevaces until it reaches the fill line/inside lip of each ramekin.

IMG_2994Sprinkle Sugar 'n Cinnamon evenly over all.

IMG_2998~ Step 8.  Set aside for 1 hour prior to baking on center rack of preheated 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes.  The bread pudding will be nicely browned, puffed up, oozing a few juices and maybe some custard too, but the pudding will be set.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool, about 15-20 minutes, prior to serving warm with freshly whipped cream or ice cream.  Leftover bread pudding reheats nicely.  Cover with plastic wrap and reheat in the microwave!

IMG_3011Pumpkin Bread+Apples = Autumn Bread Pudding:  Recipe yields 4 hearty servings.

Special Equipment List:  12 1/2" x 8 3/4" baking pan; parchment paper; 4, 2-cup size ramekins, or an 8" x 8" x 2" casserole; cutting board; serrated bread knife; 1-quart measuring container; whisk; vegetable peeler

PICT0001Cook's Note:  One of my favorite things about bread pudding?  It can be assembled, covered and refrigerated overnight.  Remove it from the refrigerator about 1-1 1/2 hours prior to baking as directed!

Extra Cook's Note: For another one of my favorite bread pudding recipes, click into Categories 5, 9, or 20 for: ~ Blueberry Brioche Bread Pudding for Breakfast ~!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2012)

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