As a child, I loved Fig Newtons, and actually, I still do. And so, the other day, when I went to the grocery store hungry — which is never a good idea — I bought two packages of dried figs. Then I got home and thought, am I really going to eat both of these?
I love bread pudding even more than Fig Newtons, and since I’ve been reading Ratio, I decided to take that kind of approach and use a basic recipe to make something new. In this case, I used my basic recipe for bread pudding and added some figs. Since they seemed like they needed something to go with them, I added walnuts too.
I used mace instead of nutmeg because I was cooking with my mom last fall, and we were making a pie with it, and she said, “Oh, mace, I love mace.” Just the way she said it, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since.
The bread pudding is really nothing like Fig Newtons, but because it has figs in it, it reminds me of childhood. I’ve been eating it for breakfast for the past couple of days because when I work the early shift on weekends, it cheers me up to have something fun in my lunch box.
Bread pudding with dried figs and walnuts
2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mace
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/3 cups bread, cut in cubes (You only need 3 cups, but I had one last slice laying there, so I thought I’d throw it in.)
6 dried figs, stem cut off, chopped in small pieces
a handful of walnuts, chopped
In medium saucepan, over medium heat, heat milk and butter. Let it warm until butter is entirely melted.
Combine sugar, eggs, cinnamon, mace and vanilla 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. Toss with dried figs and walnuts. Pour batter on top of bread.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes. Serve warm.