While we were waiting for the roly poly to bake, my aunt went through her dessert recipes and pulled out some that she thought I’d like to make. One is this bread pudding that her mother’s cousin Nellie used to make. Nellie was short and slim, but she was no shrinking violet. She never married, but a family friend got her a job in the Department of the Navy, where she worked during World War I. Apparently she was also quite the baker; I’ve been making her white fruitcake every year for several years, and it’s wonderful.
This is another of those recipes that aren’t very detailed because you’re supposed to know what you’re doing. I feel like I have a pretty good grip on most of what I have to do here, but I’m guessing at some of it.
Nellie’s Bread Pudding
¾ c bread crumbs
2 C. scalded milk
3 squares choc
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla
¼ c cold milk
¾ c sugar
Soak bread crumbs in scalded milk. Add melted choc., beaten eggs, vanilla, milk & sugar. Mix well. Pour in buttered baking dish. Set in pan of hot water. Bake in moderate oven about one hour or until done like custards.
Traditionally, bread pudding is a way of using up stale bread by mixing it with staples in your fridge and pantry. These days, you see recipes that call for cream or half-and-half and all sorts of exotic ingredients. There’s nothing exotic in Nellie’s bread pudding, though, and that’s one of its charms for me.
Nellie didn’t have a food processor, obviously, and mine doesn’t chop worth a hoot (I should get a new blade), so for all intents and purposes, I don’t have one either. I’m not sure how you get bread crumbs without processing stale bread in a food processor. Isn’t that sad? Anyway, I have that Italian bread from the test batch sitting in the freezer, and this is a good way to use up some of that. I trimmed off the crusts and broke it up into the smallest pieces I could, which I hope is good enough.
I’m pretty sure “three squares of chocolate” means three 1-ounce squares of unsweetened baking chocolate.
I’m guessing about the baking dish, but I count about 4 cups of ingredients, so I’m using a ramekin that holds that much. Everything else looks pretty straightforward.
I preheated the oven to 350℉, which is moderate. The terms slow, moderate, and fast refer to how long you can hold our hand in the hot oven; for example, if you have to pull your hand away fast, that’s a fast oven. You can google “moderate oven” (or whatever term you need defined), and there are lots of sites with charts that convert the terms to temperatures.
I brought the milk to the scald (bubbles form around the edge of the saucepan and steam rises from the milk) and dumped in the bread. While that was soaking, I chopped the chocolate and melted it in the microwave. While that was going on, I beat together the other ingredients in a bowl. Then I stirred the melted chocolate into the milk and bread and added the rest of the ingredients and stirred it all until the mixture looked pretty homogeneous. I sprayed the ramekin with baking spray and turned the pudding mixture into the ramekin.
Nellie wants this cooked in a bain marie. I used a roasting pan. I put the filled ramekin in the roasting pan, then I poured in hot water. Possibly I should’ve brought the water to the boil first; I’ll have to check on that. I used 1 quart of water, which I hope is right.
After an hour, the pudding was done. It looks like hot water in the bain marie was good enough.
I wondered if I should unmold it, and possibly I should’ve because it was a little soggy on the bottom.
It’s delicious, though!