bread pudding (Dominican “Southern” version)

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I remember, as an adolescent, helping my mom in the kitchen to make “Pudin de Pan” or Bread Pudding for the Christmas Eve Dinner.  In most Caribbean, Latin American, Spanish homes as well as other nations that were colonized by the Spanish, Christmas Eve or “Noche Buena” consist of a traditional family dinner.

Although every country has their favorite Noche Buena dinner menu and desserts, in the Dominican Republic, Bread Pudding seems to be a favorite – than let’s say, flan. Maybe it is because it is fairly easy to make or simply because you are using leftover stale bread.

Bread Pudding recipes can be traced back as far as the 11th Century.  Most recipes include raisins but others may have other fruits. I have adapted mine to be a hybrid of a Dominican recipe and a Southern recipe. If you want yours to be even more southern, try using a whiskey butter cream sauce on top. You can use just about any white bread for this recipe, I use country French bread and it works like a charm.

Caramel Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of rum
  • 1 tablespoons of water
  • 1/8 of teaspoon of fresh lemon juice

Caramel Instructions:

  1. First, make the caramel by incorporating the sugar, water, rum and lemon juice in a pan.
  2. Melt over the stove at medium heat for about 2 to 3 minutes or until it is a dark amber color.
  3. You must monitor the sugar constantly so that it does not burn.
  4. Immediately pour in bottom of buttered pan (8×10 or 9×13) at least three inches deep and set aside to cool.

Bread Pudding Ingredients:

  • 1 (1 lb.) loaf country French bread
  • ½ cup of raisins
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup of sugar (I use organic cane sugar)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup of half-and-half cream
  • 2 (12 oz.) cans of evaporated milk
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon of graded ginger or powder
  • ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Cut or tear bread into pieces and place in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter, milks, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, ginger and salt.
  3. It will be done when it begins to boil.
  4. Save 1 cup of milk mixture to temper the eggs.
  5. Pour the rest of the milk mixture over bread
  6. Beat the three eggs with the sugar until fluffy.
  7. Slowly add the saved cup of milk mixture into the eggs.
  8. Pour the egg mixture over the bread mixture gently and allow to soak for an hour in the refrigerator.
  9. The bread should be completely saturated with the egg and milk mixture.
  10. Pour into a buttered baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until the top is browned and the middle is set.
  11. Do not overbake or the bread pudding will become dry.

To serve, clear the sides of the pan with a knife. Turn the bread putting over onto a serving try.  The caramel should just ooze over the sides of the bread putting.

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