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There are some recipes that just feel like a warm hug. From rich layered lasagna recipes to old-fashioned pies, these are the types of foods that nourish your soul, not just your body. Nothing hits the spot like vintage comfort food recipes that taste just like our parents and grandparents used to make when we were young. Now that the weather is getting cooler and we’re looking for warm hug-type recipes to beat the chill, Martha Stewart’s (author of Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook) vintage bread pudding recipe has skyrocketed to the top of our must-make list. One bite of this creamy, sweet, cozy breakfast-dessert hybrid, and you’ll understand why it’s a classic.
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Bread pudding is a traditional dish made by soaking stale, leftover bread in a rich custard, then gently baking until the custard is set and the bits of bread poking out of the creamy mixture get golden brown and buttery crisp. This recipe also includes raisins, but Stewart says you can swap them out for any dried fruit if your fam isn’t a fan (you could also swap them for chocolate chips, a modern and delicious twist on the classic).
Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
Some families will use up whatever stale bread they have on hand to make bread pudding, but Stewart recommends using brioche or challah. These breads are made with eggs and butter, so they tend to have a richer, deeper flavor than plain white sandwich bread, and they also tend to soak up more custard, resulting a creamy rather than spggy final product. Make sure your bread is slightly stale, or toast it, to help increase its absorbency.
One of the concerns some people have when making bread pudding is that the custard can curdle or turn grainy. Stewart avoids this problem by baking the bread pudding in a bain marie, also known as a water bath. It’s not as complicated as it may sound. Basically, you’ll put the bread pudding mixture into a buttered casserole dish, then set that in a roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan halfway with boiling water, then put the whole thing into the oven to bake. The water bath helps keep the oven nice and steamy, and it also helps insulate the baking pan from the harsh dry heat of the oven, so the custard sets but stays silky.
Stewart keeps things simple, flavoring her old fashioned bread pudding recipe with vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. You could also add a shot of bourbon, a swirl of maple syrup, or other warming spices like allspice and ground ginger, or you can keep things vintage and simple. Either way, you’ll want to serve this rich and comforting bread pudding with plenty of hot coffee or tea.
Before you go, check out our slideshow below:
Watch: We Tried Ina Garten’s Overnight Mac & Cheese & We Totally Get Why It Broke the Internet
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