Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Puding de Pan (Bread Pudding)

This is how my grandmother makes bread pudding. It is very simple and straight forward. It is a sweet,firm, dense pudding made with bread. My grandmother likes to soak the bread pudding in a sweet cane sugar syrup, and when served one may pour more over it (yes we like sweet!)

For this "authentically" "Cuban Bread" is suppose to be used, French Bread can be used in it's place, as well as "Bolillos" which are the Mexican version of french bread they are medium large bread rolls. Here in Southern California since we have a very large Mexican community fresh "Bolillo" bread is available at any Hispanic store nice and hot usually stores like "Vallarta" chain have very good "Bolillos" my grandmother here in the states replaced her Cuban bread with "Bolillos" since Cuban bread is hard to find all the time fresh in our area.

Of course ANY type of bread will do but for best, typical results I recommend the above. In my house this recipe is used to get rid of any old bread, we even freeze bread we don't consume and also the crusty tops from American Sandwich bread, leftover baked sweets we don't want to eat no more etc. and when the freezer get's filled with enough we make huge bread pudding batches.

Ingredients for bread pudding:
-6 bolillo rolls or 1 big loaf of french bread
-1 can evaporated milk (optional you can replace it with more milk)
-3 cups whole milk
-1/2 cup of butter
-4 beaten eggs
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1 1/2 cups white sugar (or more to taste some people like it sweeter)
-1/2 cup raisins (optional my Dad hates raisins)

Ingredients for syrup (If I were you I'd make double then what I made I didn't have enough leftover syrup to pour over my individual serving unfortunately but this amount will enough to soak):
-1 1/4 cups water
-1 stick cinnamon
-1 cups dark brown sugar or 1 large piece of "Piloncillo" or "Raspadura" or "Panela" (whatever you call it depends on your culture it is unrefined solid cane sugar)

(1)Rip the bread into pieces, BUT DON'T SQUEEZE OUT THE AIR! Now add all ingredients to it, CAREFUL WITH THE MILK you don't want to add to much milk just enough to soak, toss the bread as you add the milk enough to soak it will not drown it a bunch. USE YOUR JUDGEMENT YOU MAY NEED MORE OR LESS MILK THAN WHAT I TOLD YOU DEPENDS ON HOW MUCH BREAD YOU HAVE
(2)If bread is older and dry and hard then soak for 1-2 hours. If it's fresh because you didn't have any old bread then continue the bread will be moist enough.

(3)Mix bread well and break it up, grease a baking dish with butter, pour batter in, if you wish you may dot the bread with little pieces of butter to melt over it I did.

(4)Bake in oven for atleast 60 minutes at 350 degrees fahrenheit. Until golden brown.

Directions for syrup:
(1)Bring water to a boil with cinnamon stick uncovered and simmer on medium for about 10 minutes until infused, when getting color shock it with a little bit of cold water and bring back to boil this will cause the color to deepen.

(2)Add dark brown sugar or unrefined solid cane sugar, until it dissolves and stir and let it boil until it becomes a thin syrup, it shouldn't be super thick but also not like water somewhere inbetween like "Pancake syrup"
(3)Turn of set aside.
Directions for the rest:
(1)Once bread pudding is done baking. take it out, pierce holes through it with a knife all the way to the bottom, with a knife loosen edges, now pour syrup little by little over it making sure it soaks it in, also get some syrup in the sides.
(2)Now let the bread pudding cool down to room temperature. I made 2 seperate small dishes for my father who hates raisins so I decided to make to small dishes of bread pudding without raisins just for him :)
(3)Cut to serve, you may pour more syrup in your serving plate for it.
NOTE: Be ready for a shocker or to be grandmother would almost never make the syrup... nstead she would use the cheap high corn fructose syrup and regular corn syrup laden "Pancake Syrup" popular here in United States called "Aunt Jemima" she would just use that in place of making the syrup ALMOST ALWAYS but it was still damn good, but I chose to make the syrup from scratch, I try to avoid "high fructose corn syrup" and use real products or the highest quality I can afford. But I'll be 100% honest I love it more with pancake syrup and drenched in tons of it on my plate YUM! If I'm gonna eat dessert I want it sweeeet.

ALSO: This recipe is very basic you can alter it other cultures have their own version of bread pudding and there are a variety of way's to prepare it, this is how we enjoy it in my house most of the time.

There is another bread pudding I like that a Salvadorian friend taught me called
"Puding de Platano"

Also Marilyn my FAVORITE Cuban blogger makes a good bread pudding that is slightly different from mine BUT STILL DELICIOUS I CAN TELL :) Check her's out to! "Marilyn's Cuban Bread Pudding"