Best bread pudding. Also, best apple dumplings

I finally remembered to get this recipe from my mother! You don’t have to go to Kentucky to get really good bread pudding, because here, this is it: excellent old-fashioned bread pudding. This recipe turns out to be from a very old and tattered Betty Crocker cookbook, btw.

Old-Fashioned Bread Pudding

3 to 4 C slightly stale firm cubed bread (Mom and I like firm bread pudding and always use a generous 4 C.)
2 C milk
1/4 C butter, melted
1/2 C sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon or nutmeg
1/2 C raisins (which neither Mom nor I would dream of actually putting in, but there they are in the recipe.)

Place bread cubes in a 1 1/2 qt baking dish. Combine remaining ingredients sans raisins and pour over. Stir in the raisins if for some reason you feel raisins would improve the bread pudding. Place baking dish in a wide flat pan of hot water (ideally 1 inch deep water) and bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, until a knife an inch from the edge comes out clean. Serve warm, room temp, or cold. You can certainly serve this with whipped cream or ice cream, but I like it plain. In fact, I like it plain and cold for breakfast. Thus my statement earlier that Real Desserts can also serve as breakfast and that fudge and other candies can’t really be considered desserts.

Okay, while we’re on the subject of old-fashioned but excellent desserts, here is my my mother’s recipe for apple dumplings, which is also from Betty Crocker, although she does not follow the exact recipe. I’m going to give you her variation. These apple dumplings are substantially better than most you can get in restaurants. Her variant includes more syrup than indicated in the recipe and, as you might imagine, she makes her own pastry.

Mother’s Apple Dumplings

8 medium tart apples

2 C sugar
4 C water
6 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon

2/3 C sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp butter

Enough pastry for 2 two-crust pies

Combine 2 C sugar, 4 C water, 6 Tbsp butter, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon in saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil three minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Peel and core apples.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out pastry a little less than 1/8 inch thick and cut into more or less seven inch squares. Set an apple on each pastry square. Combine the remaining sugar and cinnamon and fill the apples with this mixture. Put a dab of butter on top of the sugar mixture for each apple. Bring up the corners of the pastry square and overlap edges, dampening and pinching them to seal. Carefully lift each dumpling and place in baking dish. Pour hot syrup around dumplings (not on top of dumplings). Bake for 40 or 45 minutes until pastry is nicely browned. Serve warm with syrup and, if desired, whipped cream or ice cream.

Again, I like these at room temp for breakfast the next morning.

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2 thoughts on “Best bread pudding. Also, best apple dumplings”

  1. Maureen, I was like that for Thanksgiving stuffing for a long time. Soggy bread, ick! Oddly, this never was a problem with bread pudding. Unless it’s runny. Which means it was overbaked or baked without a water bath, which means, not my mother’s bread pudding!

    Mary Beth, yes to pie for breakfast! Though maybe not pecan. Too sweet for me even for dessert. Apple or pumpkin, definitely fair game for breakfast.

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