Stop and Shop, a large food retailer, one of my ‘local’ sources, has a special on loves of Italian bread on Fridays. Loaves that usually sell for two dollars a loaf, are one dollar per loaf. I think they were driven to this action by the competing Met Foods down the road which has a deal with my local Monreal bakery selling loaves of Italian and French bread for a dollar a loaf on Fridays. Any given Friday when you walk into Met Foods there is the wall of fresh baked bread aroma, and several racks of bread just rolled out into the store isles. So, with this king of Friday deal, I usually pick up two loaves, one to use right away nice and fresh. The other I leave out to use on Sunday. By Sunday, the loaf left out has dries sufficiently to make a wonderful bread pudding. Now that autumn is here, its time to break out the autumnal treats.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 cups whole milk (or 2 cups half & half)
- 1 stick (1/4 cup, or 4 tbsp) butter
- 2/3 cup brown sugar (light or dark, depending on taste preference)
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups of dried bread, torn into small pieces
- 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
In medium saucepan, over medium heat, heat milk (or half & half) just until film forms over top. Combine butter and milk, stirring until butter is melted. Cool to this mixture until its lukewarm. Now, in a large bowl combine sugar, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Beat this until its well mixed and then slowly add the milk mixture.
Place the bread in a lightly greased 1 1/2 quart casserole. Sprinkle with raisins if desired, and pour the batter on top of bread. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes or until set. Serve warm, perhaps with egg nog or warm cider.