The holidays have come and gone, and we're now busy packing away the Christmas tree. We have actually been considering just leaving the tree up because the days go by so quickly, and we're pretty sure it won't be long til we have to bring out the holiday decorations again. Do you feel the same way? :)
But since it's always better to start the year right and to keep everything organized, it leaves us with no choice but to take the tree down, trimmings and all, until we bring it out again later this year.
We're also sorting through our closets and checking our pantry and refrigerator for food that needs to be cleared out. We discovered several half loaves of bread, dinner rolls and packs of pan de sal tucked away in the freezer that have either been forgotten or that nobody wants to eat since we buy fresh bread twice a week.
It seemed like such a waste to throw all that bread out, so we thought of reincarnating them into bread pudding so we have less food waste. Stale bread is best for making pudding because it has become stiff and dry, thereby absorbing more moisture, making the end product moist and tender. Stale bread is also good for making croutons and breadcrumbs!
Here's a delicious and simple bread pudding recipe that we hope you get to try. So happy we were able to re-purpose our leftovers and it turned out so yummy that the whole casserole was wiped out in one day!
Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce
4 1/2 cups cubed stale bread
2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins optional
For the Vanilla Sauce
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Directions for Pudding:
Heat oven to 350F. Prepare bread cubes and put in a mixing bowl with raisins, if using. Set aside. Combine milk and butter in a saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted. Pour milk mixture over bread and let stand 10 minutes.
Stir in sugar, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour into greased 1 1/2 quart casserole and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until set in center.
Directions for Vanilla Sauce:
Combine all ingredients except vanilla in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until mixture thickens and comes to a full boil, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
To serve, spoon warm pudding into dessert plates and serve with sauce on the side. Store refrigerated.
This article also appears on PhilStar.com.