Just try saying THAT ten times fast. I’m pretty certain that this twist wouldn’t be recognizable to early 18th century English, but it’s still bread pudding. Throwing away stale bread is always a bit sad and I’m not the first frustrated housewife to try to make something good out of hardened bread. Versions of bread pudding can be traced back to ancient civilizations, but the popular British version is said to have been born from necessity during the “Great Frost” of 1709 when England lost many crops and peasants couldn’t afford to throw out stale bread.
A friend of mine at Level Ground wrote a blog piece about kindness and challenged her readers to be intentionally kind this month. I sat back smiling like a Cheshire Cat remembering the sweet moment when I received a random act of kindness… from Santa Claus… and the challenge was on. So, I started thinking of a good way to start and my mind went to food and then this lovely creation was formed.
I felt pretty good about myself too… not only did I sort of “clean out the fridge and freezer” in the process, but I managed to create something that put smiles on faces. I like that.
So, here it is… my Mixed Berry (from the garage freezer) Blueberry Bagel (horrendously old from our fridge freezer) Bread Pudding. I also made Leftover Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes with Bacon, Manchego, and Spinach… so I’ll scribble that one below as well.
Mixed Berry Blueberry Bagel Bread Pudding
4-5 blueberry bagels, sliced (stale bagels are great!)
2 cups mixed frozen berries
2 cups heavy whipping cream + 1/2 cup milk
2-3 eggs (I used 2)
2 t. vanilla
1. Butter a 9×13 baking dish and line it with the sliced bagels. I didn’t thaw mine because I’d sliced them before freezing them.
2. Sprinkle frozen berries over the frozen/stale bagel slices.
3. Combine cream, eggs, vanilla, and sugar and mix well.
4. Pour cream mixture evenly over the berries and bagels making sure that every bagel gets wet.
5. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until the custard is set in the middle.
6. Serve warm alone, with ice cream, or with vanilla sauce.
Notes: Most bread pudding recipes that I’ve seen call for 3 cups of milk, often whole milk, and three eggs. I was nearly out of milk and had only heavy whipping cream available, so I used what I had and decreased the egg by one since I was using less and didn’t want an overly eggy flavor.
Leftover Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes with Bacon, Manchego*, and Spinach
2+ cups leftover mashed potatoes
4 strips bacon
1 yellow onion, chopped
2+ cups spinach
sliced manchego for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook bacon until lightly crispy. Set aside and reserve 2T. drippings.
2. Add onion to the drippings and cook to taste – until clear or caramelized – 5-15 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted 1-2 minutes.
3. Add the mashed potatoes and cook until heated through. (I like to brown mine a bit too to give them a crispy edge.)
4. Chop bacon and mix it in (optional) or reserve bacon to serve alongside your potatoes.
5. Garnish with a slice of manchego or a generous sprinkle of grated manchego (or other strong, hard) cheese.
*Manchego is a delicious sheep’s cheese from Spain. It can be a medium to hard cheese depending on its age. Both are delicious, but the older cheeses especially are fantastic alone or to give that extra zing to a dish like this. The really old ones are very salty. When in Spain, you’ll find them served with Serrano ham.