This is rather cheating; bread pudding, while certainly an old recipe, isn’t one that has very much fallen out of favor. But it’s my category and I will do what I like. And I like bread pudding.
I first encountered bread pudding at an upscale breakfast buffet in Cincinnati. I was only eight at the time, so my idea of “pudding” was “Jell-O, preferably chocolate” — the idea of pudding that tasted like bread wasn’t very appealing. Its appearance wasn’t inspiring, either. As an adult, I kick myself for that, because I would have adored the soft, sweet conglomeration that bread pudding truly is.
One thing Buzz observed as we cooked this was that it’s a lot like stuffing. You take dry bread crumbs (or chunks) which are otherwise inedible, mix them with spices and liquid, bake for a while; you end up with a delicious soft bread. The difference between the two dishes is that bread pudding is sweet where stuffing is savory; instead of chicken stock, you add custard.
Mix together 2 cups milk, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon and nutmeg. Cut (or tear) old bread into chunks until you have 2-3 cups worth. Challah makes this absolutely amazing, but any nice white bread will do.
Let bread chunks soak up the milk and eggs for about 10 minutes, then stir it around some more.
Bake at 350°F for 45-60 minutes, until the top is lightly browned. This is when my younger self would be underwhelmed.
Trust me — the taste is better than the unimpressive appearance! The preparation is simple, and you can create variations such as adding raisins or other fruit into the mix, because if you have fruit it cancels out all those fat and sugar calories… doesn’t it?