Bread Pudding Recipes for Mardi Gras

If you can overlook the gossip on the farmer’s wife in this 1913 article, you’ll get to the good stuff. Bread puddings made with “butter the size of an egg” and a savory dessert featuring cheese, bread crumbs, and onion juice — yum!

Old Bread in New Puddings

Originally published in Country Gentleman, June 28, 1913

Every housewife knows how rapidly bread scraps accumulate and the careful housewife knows also that if not looked after they form one of the small leaks in the household management. They are too small to be considered by some, for recently a farmer’s wife who prides herself in her culinary ability remarked in our hearing: “Oh, I just throw my stale bread to the chickens. We do not care for puddings and things made with bread.” And we happen to know that she feeds her family daily on pie and cake and that they all have stomach trouble of one kind or another and are more or less anemic.

It seems to us that if, instead of the inevitable pie and cake so constantly served on some farm tables, the farm housewife, when concocting desserts for her family, would oftener utilize some of the fragments of bread that usually go to waste, in connection with the abundant milk and eggs always to be had on the farm, there would be better nourished bodies and less stomach trouble, and consequently fewer doctor bills.

In the first place, it is seldom necessary to have a quantity of old bread on hand, even in a small family. A half-loaf may be freshened by being placed in a hot oven for 10 minutes, and it will be more digestible than when first baked. The outside will be crisp and crusty, which is an improvement rather than otherwise.

Most people are familiar with the breakfast dish known as fried toast—slices of stale bread dipped in beaten egg and milk and browned on a griddle. We find the egg superfluous, however, just dipping the slice quickly in sweet milk and placing it at once on the hot, buttered griddle, frying slowly until it browns and loosens easily before turning. If fried too quickly it will be soft and sticky instead of crisp. Serve with butter and sirup.

All clean bread scraps should be thoroughly dried in the oven without being browned, and then put in a tight can kept for the purpose. They are then ready for many things. Pulverized they are fully equal to cracker crumbs for breading chops, oysters, eggplant and croquettes, and are also available for other things if soaked in cold water a moment and then pressed dry.

Stale bread cut in small squares and lightly browned in the oven — crofitons — are a fine addition to soup and an excellent substitute for crackers when eaten with butter and milk. Broken up and eaten with sugar and cream they form the breakfast dish known as “rusks” in New England and are fully as palatable and nourishing as many of the commercial breakfast foods.

About the only use some housekeepers can devise for stale bread is the homely bread pudding. We use the word “homely” advisedly, for bread pudding as it is made in the average household is neither sightly nor palatable, and even when well made, if it is always the same, it grows monotonous; but there are so many possibilities, even in bread puddings, for the ingenious cook who takes a little trouble that there is no excuse for lack of variety in that direction.

Chocolate Bread Pudding

Bake until set, then cover with a meringue of the whites of two eggs and two tablespoonfuls of sugar, and brown. Serve cold with cream or a cornstarch sauce.

Prune Pudding

Cook three cupfuls of prunes as for the table, sweetening very slightly, drain off the juice, remove the stones and sprinkle the prunes with lemon juice.

Mix and pour in a pudding pan, then drop in the prunes evenly and bake until set. Serve hot or cold with cream or a sauce made of the prune juice heated and thickened.

Apricot Pudding

Pour one pint of hot milk over one quart of stale crumbs, add one tablespoonful of butter and soak half an hour.

Stir 2 beaten eggs, 1 cupful of sugar, and 1/4 teaspoonful each of salt and cinnamon into the milk and crumbs, then add half a can of apricots or peaches — drained from their juice and cut in pieces. Pour in a buttered mold and cook in boiling water 2 hours. The mold may be set in a steamer over hot water.

Serve cold with cream, or hot with sauce made of the fruit sirup, heated and thickened with cornstarch, and 1 tablespoonful of butter

Brown Betty

The dried bread may be used, first being soaked and then pressed as dry as possible.

The proportions are one part crumbs to two of apples, either chopped or sliced.

Put alternately a layer of apples, sugar, cinnamon, and bits of butter, and then one of crumbs in a buttered pudding pan until it is full, a layer of crumbs being on top. Add a little water unless apples are very juicy, and bake for an hour in a steady oven, removing the cover during the last 15 minutes. Serve cold with cream.

Rhubarb Betty Is Also Good

Mix one-fourth cupful of melted butter with two cupfuls of solidly packed soft crumbs.

Cut one pound of rhubarb in small pieces without peeling. Butter a pudding pan, put in a layer of rhubarb, a dozen seeded raisins, a grating of lemon peel and a few drops of juice. Scatter sugar liberally, then a layer of crumbs, and so on until everything is used. Cover the dish and bake an hour, removing the cover during the last 15 minutes so that the crumbs on top may brown.

Queen of Puddings

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar, add to the milk, crumbs, and salt, and bake until firm.

Then spread over the top the contents of a can of strawberries drained from their juice — or the fresh crushed and sugared fruit in season. Over this spread a meringue of the whites of four eggs beaten with two tablespoonfuls of sugar. Brown and serve cold with cream.

Any other fruit fresh or canned may be used.

Plain Bread Pudding

It is good eaten cold with cream or hot with a sweet sauce. A handful of raisins or some jelly spread over the top when eaten with cream is an improvement.

Pudding cake
Children’s Plum Pudding (Country Gentleman)

Children’s Plum Pudding

Beat the egg and mix all the ingredients. Bake one hour in a slow oven until firm and serve hot with a sweet liquid sauce.

Cornmeal Pudding

Two cupfuls of cornbread crumbs soaked one hour in one quart of sweet milk. Add three beaten eggs, three table- spoonfuls of sugar, a pinch of salt, a little grated nutmeg or cinnamon if preferred. Bake an hour in a moderate oven.

Cheese Custard with Bread Sauce

Beat the eggs slightly and add the remaining ingredients. Turn into buttered timbale molds, set in pan of hot water and bake until brown. Remove to hot platter and cover with the following bread sauce:

Cook ingredients 25 minutes. Pour over the cheese custard and sprinkle with the coarse crumbs browned in a frying pan in about a tablespoonful of butter.

Article clipping
Read “Old Bread in New Puddings” by Elisabeth Irving. Published June 28, 1913 in Country Gentleman.