My 97-year-old uncle, Fernando, lives in Miami.
My 94-year-old mother, who lives here in California, visits her big brother (!!) at least once a year. Tio Fernando loves bread pudding and so, my mom, being the devoted little sister that she is, insists on bringing him the bread pudding he loves so much. She will usually make a big, heavy one for him, which she then proceeds to haul across the country.
She packs it in her suitcase.
I know what you’re thinking, but trust me, there’s no arguing with her on this point. She makes Tio Fernando’s Bread Pudding (or T.F.B.P.) and the way she makes it is kind of dry, so it wraps up nicely for the cross-country flight.
Once my mom and the T.F.B.P. arrive in Miami, she and my uncle make a syrupy sauce to pour over the dry pudding. They both absolutely delight in this ritual. He feels loved and appreciated because she made the pudding and she feels loved and appreciated because he is so appreciative, ad infinitum. Everyone’s happy, including the FAA who’s representatives were relieved to discover that the carefully wrapped package in her luggage was not radioactive, but that’s not important right now.
I think it’s cute that my mom goes to all that trouble for her big brother, but honestly, I don’t love her bread pudding because it is a little too dry for me and I am a bit lazy about making the syrup. (Don’t judge me.)
So I came up with my own recipe for bread pudding, which is super gooey and messy and not-at-all-dry-so-you-don’t-need-syrup, and I even found a way to add guava to it. I know! Shut up.
I think you’re going to love it.
But, a word of warning: Don’t make plans to travel with it in your luggage. My bread pudding is NOT like my Tio Fernando’s and would definitely be classified as a U.F.O. (Unidentified Food Object.)
Not-My-Tio-Fernando’s Bread Pudding Recipe
- 3 cups sugar
- a squeeze of fresh lemon
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 pound day-old Cuban or French bread
- 4 cups milk
- 4 egg YOLKS
- 1 TBSP Vanilla extract
- 1 stick butter – melted
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. Salt
- 1/4 cup dry sherry (vino seco)
- 1 cup golden raisins (they have a milder taste.)
- Guava paste – about a dozen or so sliced squares, to dot the top of the pudding.
- Confectioner’s sugar (for garnishing)
Prepare the baking dish:
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2) Pour 2 cups of sugar (plus a little bit of water and squeeze of fresh lemon), into a saucepan over medium heat.
3) Stir occasionally until sugar caramelizes - about 6 or 7 minutes.
4) Remove from heat and quickly pour caramel into ungreased baking dish.
5) Set aside.
For the pudding:
1) Place bread pieces into a food processor and grind into medium size breadcrumbs – it’s okay to have some chunks in there, too, for a nice texture.
2) Put breadcrumbs into a large mixing bowl and pour milk over them – mix until all the bread is coated. Set aside and let them soak.
3) In another bowl, mix together the remaining sugars (1 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup light brown sugar), the egg yolks, vanilla, melted butter, cinnamon, salt, wine, and raisins.
4) Add this to the soaked breadcrumb mixture.
5) Pour into the caramelized dish.
6) Dot the top with guava paste pieces.
7) Bake for about an hour and ten minutes until pudding is set, or until knife inserted in the pudding comes out clean.
8) Remove from oven and allow pudding to cool down to room temperature.
9) Dust with confectioner’s sugar and slice into serving pieces.
10) Serve hot or cold. No syrup necessary.