Holiday Bread Pudding

What to do with the leftover cookies from Christmas that are kinda starting to get stale.  My preference is to salvage them by making a delicious cookie bread pudding. It varies depending on the cookies you throw in it. I also use holiday bread leftovers like stolen and my favorite Italian fennel and golden raisin bread. The more the merrier!

This is a basic oven baked bread pudding. Nothing tricky or fancy. You don’t have to soak or let it stand a long time.  You can make it with gluten free cookies or wheat based. Store or homemade. I’ve been making it for many years and it works great with gluten free cookies. This time I used delicate meringue filled cookies but a host of cookie varieties will do just as well. I admit it is not a pretty pudding. But it will taste delish and use up those holiday baked goods you have hanging around still!

bread pudding in cup

Angie’s Cookie and Bread Pudding

Approximately 2-3 cups crumbled leftover cookies/bread; not packed in cup I used about 2.5 cups of crumbled cookies

1 Tbsp soft butter

3 eggs

3 cups whole or 2 percent milk ( plus up to a cup more milk if needed)

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp. real vanilla extract

Pinch salt

 

Directions: Heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 1 quart baking dish; I generally use a medium (7 inch diameter) ceramic souffle pan. Place broken cookies/bread into buttered dish. Do not squash down.

Beat eggs in a mixing bowl until fairly well broken up; add milk. Add sugar, vanilla and salt, stir well to melt the sugar. Pour over the cookies. If the milk mixture does not reach the top of the cookies you might have to add a bit more milk. You don’t want to start off with not enough liquid to form custard. Don’t add more than another cup of milk or it will substantially change the proportions of the custard. Place pan in oven and bake 35-45 minutes until the top is slightly browned and the custard is firm-ish. I wiggle the pan to see if it still is liquid; you want a little bit of wiggle; just not so much that your pudding is under-baked.bread pudding in pan

Cool at least 30 minutes before serving. Goes great with a bit of freshly whipped cream. Enjoy!bread pudding with cream

Not Grandma’s Rice Pudding

I always loved rice pudding as a child, creamy custard studded with raisins and topped with a good sprinkle of cinnamon.  But the rice itself was kinda drab.  A few years ago, I found a recipe that caused a rice pudding revolution in my kitchen: it used sweet rice which is a white short grain oriental rice.  You could substitute Arborio rice if you like.  I buy this rice in oriental grocery stores but I think Wegmans may carry it too.  Each grain absorbs the milk as it cooks and releases a lot of creaminess as well as providing a soft squishier rice that gives the pudding a more blended feel than my mom’s usage of long grain rice that stayed firm and separate from its pudding surrounding.

arborio rice

This recipe is naturally gluten free.  No one eating it will think, “Oh, darn, another of those weird GF recipes!”  They will just think, “I wonder if she will think I am piggy to want seconds of this?

I think in a pinch you could skip the second part where you briefly bake the pudding but I never do, I think it helps the pudding form the best texture.  Do sprinkle the top with cinnamon unless it is something you despise.  I recommend whole milk as it makes pudding taste so good but if you prefer two percent that will work.  I do not recommend skim milk for pudding. Ick on the texture and flavor of such a mutant pudding!  And this recipe is great with chopped dried apricots, dried cherries, golden raisins, or even currents or in it instead of raisins. My original recipe had lemon peel and apricots in it. Recently I put a few long orange peelings in it and a cinnamon stick while it cooked on the stove top which gave it a delicate orange flavor which played well with the raisins. So, you can alter it to suit your mood and your ingredients.

rice pudding

This snowy weekend adds more really cold days.  What could be more comforting after a chilly time shoveling than a bowl of wickedly creamy homemade rice pudding?

Best Ever Rice Pudding

Ingredients

¾ cup sweet or Arborio rice

1 quart whole milk

1/3 cup raisins

1/3-1/2 cup granulated sugar, this depends on your sweetness needs!

2 egg yolks

2 whole large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla

A good sprinkle of cinnamon

Directions:

Rinse the rice in a strainer briefly, place in a heavy bottomed 1 ½ quart saucepan, pour in the milk (4 cups) and stir frequently as it heats on medium to a bubbly simmer.  Add the raisins and turn down the heat to low, cover and cook 25 minutes.  Be sure to stir it every 5-9 minutes to separate the rice and keep it from scorching on the bottom.  Add the sugar, stir well.  Mix up the egg yolk and whole eggs in a bowl with a whisk and add in some of the hot mixture; maybe 1/3 to ½ cup.  Dump it all back in the pot and stir well.  Turn off the heat and add the vanilla.

Heat your oven to 300 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a low ceramic or glass baking dish. I like an oval myself, that shape is what my mom usually used!  Pour in the pudding, removing any lemon or orange peel and the cinnamon stick if you used such and sprinkle it well with cinnamon to dust the surface.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Sometimes I put it in a hot water bath created with a 9×13 cake pan and some hot tap water.  This can produce lovely delicate custard if you don’t mind the extra fuss.

It is tasty warm and wonderful the next day.  Some people guild the lily with toppings of whipped cream, grated lemon or orange peel or even whipped mascarpone cheese.  Up to you how you dress it up!  I occasionally serve a homemade cookie on the side for added crunch value.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Pudding Delux

Chocolate pudding is such a comfort food.  You can buy it ready made in the yogurt case but I prefer to make my own as it tastes fresher.  But this is not really a scratch recipe. I take a store box of Jello cook and serve and make a few changes.  My version is a tad less sweet and gives you an extra serving. The cinnamon is optional but I think it heightens the chocolate flavor.  Do not use instant pudding; only the cook and serve stuff.

 chocolate pudding

This pudding takes just five minutes to cook it up and pudding is always a cozy treat, even in summer.  It is naturally gluten free.  My mom loves it because it has a nice texture and isn’t quite so sweet as store pudding normally is. Here is my simple recipe. 

Angie’s Chocolate Pudding

1 box Jello “cook and serve” pudding; 3.4 ounce box

2 ½ cups whole or 2 percent milk

1 tbsp. cornstarch

1 tbsp. cocoa powder (not drink mix!)

Good sprinkle of cinnamon.

 Place the milk in a thick bottomed medium saucepan.  Mix the other ingredients in a small bowl and pour into the milk in the saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium as you stir constantly with a whisk.  I keep stirring until the entire pan is at a full boil meaning many big bubbles all over the surface.  Turn off and ladle into 5 6 oz serving dishes.  Chill 2-4 hours and serve plain or with some lightly sweetened freshly whipped cream.  A few ripe raspberries would be lovely on top of this chocolaty treat.  I have even buried a ginger snap cookie in the middle of the pudding for a surprise to bite into!

chocolate pudding 8-14

 

This doesn’t work as well with one percent milk, and not at all with skim milk.  Best results are with whole milk.  If you don’t stir enough it will burn on the bottom.