When I was growing up, my mom used to save up all the old crusts of bread from the previous week. I can still remember the place in the cupboard for the old bread.
On Fridays (which was also Cuban Cleaning Day, which is definitely a story for another day), she would always bake a delicious dessert. We kids never made the connection, being distracted with the business of school and play, that the delicious dessert was a result of the bread leftovers.
Furthermore, it was a money-saving measure. Feeding a family a family of 8 must have been tough.
There are many things I took for granted in my childhood that now make so much more sense. For example, my mom did the grocery shopping on Saturday mornings. So Friday night dinner was inevitably, fried eggs over white rice. (If you're Cuban, you understand the awesomeness of this.) It was because we had basically run out of food. Who knew?
Last week in a fit of enthusiasm, I picked up, not one, but two loaves of wonderfully fresh sourdough bread from a local bakery. Seriously, is there anything better than fresh, hot sourdough with real butter? See what I mean? (Thank you for "getting" me.)
Of course, if you've ever had fresh sourdough bread, you also know that it doesn't keep for very long. We managed to get through the first loaf over dinner on Day One.
But then, we were out on the 2nd day and before we knew it, it was Day Three and that sourdough loaf was, well, not exactly fresh anymore. (I would say any fresh bread shouldn't last too many days anyway, but that's not important right now.)
As I was cleaning out the bread box, I stared at that beautiful, and untouched (if slightly old) loaf of sourdough and just couldn't toss it. I suppose I could have made croutons, but I swear, it was just too beautiful.
So I quickly consulted my Recipe Development Dream Team, which consists of Martha, Ina, Ree, and Rachael and together they helped me come up with the following recipe. Ree wanted me to add whiskey, and Rachael insisted cayenne pepper would add just the right kick. I ignored them both with pleasingly decadent results.
I decided that Frugality is the new Decadence. (Gracias, Mami!)
Sourdough Bread Pudding with Salted Honey Sauce
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups milk, at room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 Tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 cups sourdough bread, cubed
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2) Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, then add the milk, melted butter and vanilla.
3) Gradually add the sugar and mix until dissolved.
4) Place the bread cubes in a 9 inch round baking dish and pour the egg mixture on top.
5) Sprinkle the pecans on top and slightly press them into the bread. Bake until set, about 50 minutes. (Check and give it a little more time if you need to. The pudding will set a bit more once you take it out and let it rest.)
Salted Honey Sauce
- 1 stick (4 ounces) melted butter
- 3/4 cup honey (I went with the thicker spun honey for more flavor)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Dash of sea salt
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
1) A few minutes before the pudding is done, in a medium saucepan, heat the stick of melted butter with the honey, cinnamon, and salt over medium heat, whisking to combine.
2) Whisk in the cream. Drizzle half of the warm honey sauce over the bread pudding and serve the rest alongside.
Pat yourself on the back for being so delicously retro and money-wise.