Bread Pudding

When I dream, I dream big.

I’m not talking about the fall-down-the-stairs-and-run-into-your-elementary-school-crush-while-your-teeth-fall-out dream, because those are for rookies.  Sissies.  Baby dreamers.

I’m talking about dreams like the one I had last night.  You know, the complicated, heavily symbolic, outlandish, silly and pretty creepy dream.

I was backpacking in a landscape that resembled Hawaii, New Zealand, and France.  On the hike were peninsulas that each had one of my childhood homes: the apartment, the townhouse, the cookie-cutter.

Once I climbed my way through these empty structures, I was smack in the middle of a parade.  With gigantic corrugated metal elephants and sharks as floats.

Ashton Kutcher was there.  Taking pictures of girls with his Nikon camera.  I was shooting with my Canon and all of my photos were underexposed.

I told him I had to finish my hike, but he said that the last peninsula was snowed out.

Then I awoke.

And made this simple, frou-frou-less bread pudding.  I thought about adding bananas or apples, but didn’t want to risk dreaming about apple ice capades and Leonardo DiCaprio singing in a banana suit.

Remember that Banana French Toast?  This is the same challah bread.  It’s been in the freezer, waiting for its inevitable demise in my tummy.

Elephant-shaped sugar?  Come on, subconscious.  Give me a break.

You can make it with the frou frou.  I’m down with the frou frou.  Just not today.  Some raisins and walnuts would be awesome.

Bread Pudding.

5 cups stale bread, cubed
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whisk the eggs until bubbly and frothy – about three minutes on high speed with a hand mixer.  Add the butter, sugar, spices, and vanilla, and mix until well incorporated.  Lightly whisk in the milk.

Butter a deep 9-inch, round baking dish (or, if you want small portions, butter a muffin pan) and throw in the bread.  Add the liquid mixture and press down on the bread until all of the pieces are soaked.

Let sit for 30 minutes, pressing the bread every 10 minutes.

Place the pudding into the oven and immediately lower temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  Bake for 40 minutes.

Turn up the heat to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for another 20 minutes.  The top should be brown and slightly crispy.  Let cool for about half an hour.

Eat.  Live simply.  Dream big.

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