I love desserts, and make no apologies for my sweet tooth. The dessert course is a tradition I have gladly carried over from my childhood table, and we embrace it. While sweets in all their forms are always very welcome, our favorites do tend to be the time-tested, well-loved traditional recipes that have graced family tables for decades. Pies, crisps, and puddings of all kinds are frequently on our menu.
There are two puddings in particular that fall into the category of "favorite" in our home; rice and bread. Yup, we love our carbs almost as much as we love our sweets. We never even bothered to try Atkins; it wouldn't have lasted a day in our house. I haven't made either in a while, so I decided to save up bread slices and heels in the refrigerator for a special treat.
Why use old bread? I could have picked up an artisan loaf at the local grocery store and used that, and indeed, it would be tasty. However, I've been on a bit of a mission lately when it comes to food. You may recall a post from a few weeks ago called Food for Thought where I discussed Kerry Leonard and Christopher Greenslate's book On a Dollar a Day: One Couple's Unlikely Adventures in Eating in America, which is based on the experiences chronicled on their blog One Dollar Diet Project. While I've always hated wasting food, since taking a closer look at the issue of food costs and world hunger, I find that I'm really loathe to toss out food. So, we decided that we would do our very best to eat what we had in the fridge and try reallyreally hard not to make a bunch of visits to the grocery store between official grocery shopping trips. This week, we had a leftover buffet one night, and it was great. I read about leftover buffets at I'm An Organizing Junkie; this site has an amazing weekly menu planner and a leftover buffet is usually a part of the plan. As we filled up our plates with pasta, ribs, salad, and meatloaf, it occurred to me that we were basically having a potluck, except that I'd cooked everything myself!
And so, instead of tossing out the heels and other weird looking pieces of bread, I saved them up. Tonight, I had enough to make our pudding. I got out my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook and found my favorite bread pudding recipe. After some consideration, I decided to make the chocolate chip variation. Bread Pudding is super easy to make, and before long the house was full of wonderful, chocolate-y smells.
We had some for dessert (of course!) and it was great! I had a bit of a giggle, because bread pudding is usually more of a cold weather dessert; in fact, the description accompanying the recipe suggests that the cook "Settle in on a cold winter's night with a bowlful of this rich delight." Well, I'm hear to tell you that it's just as yummy on a cold summer's night as it is in December. So much so that we were half-way through our dessert when I realized I hadn't photographed the final result. It was so pretty, too, all puffed up in it's French White casserole. Oh well, it's pretty darn cute in a dessert bowl, too!
I found two recipes on the Better Homes and Gardens website that are similar to the ones I use. One is for Bread Pudding with no variations, and the other is for Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding. Neither of these recipes are exactly like the one in my cookbook (the 14th edition) but they are similar and I'm sure they'd be delightful. The Brown Sugar Sauce recipe with the Chocolate Chip version sounds just wonderful; I may have to whip some of that up for our "midnight snack" course of pudding. Like I said, Atkins never, ever would've worked in this house. Oh well, nothing a good brisk walk in the bracing July air can't take care of!