Recently, I served tea sandwiches made with raisin bread at a party. Trimming the sandwiches in triangles yielded a lot of leftover crusts. So, it made sense to make bread pudding. Some form of bread pudding has been around since the 11th-century when English cooks repurposed leftover stale bread and the dish became known as “poor man’s pudding”. In the 13th century, eggs and milk were added to the recipe, which then became known as “bread and butter pudding” and later as the Bread Pudding we are familiar with today.
The secret to bread pudding is using stale bread so it can soak up the custard. The easiest way to make this is to leave the bread cubes in a sheet pan on the counter overnight. You can also toast them in a low oven for a few minutes. Toast the pecans on a sheet pan in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 7 minutes. With these 2 main ingredients ready, here is how I prepare it.
Scatter 5 – 6 cups of stale raisin bread cubes and 1 cup of toasted pecans in a 9 x 13 baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together 6 eggs, 3 cups of milk, ½ cup of white sugar, ½ cup of brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and ½ cup of dark rum. Pour this mixture over the bread cubes and pecans, pushing down slightly to make sure all bread cubes are covered. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
When ready to bake, pop the mixture in a pre-heated 350-degree oven and bake for 50 – 55 minutes (all ovens vary) until the top is brown and bounces back slightly. While the pudding bakes, make the Hot Buttered Rum Sauce. Melt 1 stick of butter, 1/3 cup of heavy cream and 1 cup of white sugar in a medium sauce pan over low heat. Do not let it boil. When the butter has melted and the sugar is dissolved, stir in 3 tablespoons of dark rum. Ladle the warm sauce over each serving of the pudding.
And that is it. You can prepare this the day before and bake it the next day for a delicious brunch dish or dessert. Of course, if you do not have bread crusts, you can use a loaf of raisin bread. And the sauce is scrumptious over ice cream, pound cake or your finger. I hope you will try it. Enjoy!