The Covenant: I make bread pudding and think of mom

When I was in high school, my mom and I read James Michener’s The Covenant. One of the main story lines is about a Boer family whose traditional dessert is bread pudding.

After my mom read it, she said  she would like to have a dessert that’s a family tradition, and she thought bread pudding would be a good choice. So, we made bread pudding. I remember it being a little mushy, and it must not have been very good because we never made it again.

Years later, I ordered bread pudding in a restaurant and liked it. Then it became trendy and appeared on many restaurant menus, and I continued to order it. A couple of years ago, I was at the National Restaurant Association trade show in Chicago, and Oprah’s former personal chef Art Smith did a demonstration in which he made bread pudding.

It didn’t seem that hard. He cut some bread into cubes, added sugar, milk and eggs and baked it. More or less.

I began making bread pudding at home, but all of the recipes that I found at first, including the one in Shaw’s cookbook, called for a loaf of bread. I rarely have a spare loaf of bread sitting around. Plus, the recipes made a lot of pudding, and I really shouldn’t be eating all that myself. (G., so far, is not a bread pudding fan.)

Then I found a smaller bread pudding recipe at Moms Who Think. It’s awesome, and it requires only a bit of bread. Since my mom gave me her bread machine, I often have a bit of bread left over. I’ll make a loaf, and G. and I can’t seem to eat it all before it starts to get stale. Bread pudding is a great way to soften it up into something usable.

I’ve been playing with the recipe, and I tend to use dried cherries rather than raisins. I don’t make the sauce to go on top because it’s already sweet enough. Also, I like almond, so this week I made an almond and cherry version. It makes me think of my mom, who also likes almond flavor. Maybe we’ll have a bread pudding tradition in our family after all.

Cherry Almond Bread Pudding
2 cups milk (or half-and-half)
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon almond extract (I might go with 1/2 next time.)
3 cups bread, cut in cubes
1/2 cup dried cherries

In medium saucepan, over medium heat, heat milk (or half & half) and butter. Let it warm until butter is entirely melted.

Combine sugar, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and almond extract. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for 1 minute. Slowly add milk mixture.

Place bread in a lightly greased 1.75- or 2-quart casserole. Sprinkle on dried cherries and toss with bread. Pour batter on top of bread.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. Serve warm.


One response to “The Covenant: I make bread pudding and think of mom

  1. HI, I never liked bread pudding yet I still remember reading that book because of the bread pudding description…And its the only reason I ever tried making it. The power of books!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s