Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lazy Cherry Vanilla Bread Pudding

I love bread pudding. This is one of those recipes, like French Toast, that housewives came up with to use stale bread. When times are tight, you can’t afford to let half a loaf of bread mold or turn so stale that no one will eat it, and when this recipe originated, most women (and it was mostly women, not men) were still baking their own bread. So they came up with a number of recipes to use up everything they had, even when the bread was no longer considered fit to eat. (Um. Their standards were higher than mine. I’ll eat bread in pretty much any form, and if it’s stale, I just toast it!)

This recipe results in a drier, more traditional consistency, although I have to admit that I like mine better a little custardy-ier. I’m still working on getting that custard consistency though, and this is pretty darn tasty in the meantime.

The Recipe
½ loaf white bread (brioche is best, but any good white bread will do)
1 ½ cups dry vanilla cake mix
2 cups whole milk (whole is important because nonfat will taste weird in this)
1 cup dried cherries (or other dried fruit of your choice)

In a 9x12 baking pan, tear the bread into smallish pieces, about ½ - 1 inch each. In a separate bowl, mix together the cake mix and milk until smooth. Add the cherries and mix again. Pour the liquid/cherry mixture over the bread and gently squash the bread with the back of a spoon to make sure it’s all saturated. Cover with foil and allow to sit for about 15 minutes on the counter.

Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes, or until you can smell it. Remove it from the oven and allow it to sit for 15 minutes to set.

Serve warm with either vanilla ice cream or Ben & Jerry’s “Cherry Garcia” ice cream.

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