By now, some of you have figured out that I love my carbs, but also stick to whole grains. I also love bread puddings, but most I've done use challah, croissants, white sourdough, etc., so I was very happy to find this new Breakfast Bread Pudding in Mark Bittman's new Food Matters breakfast section. There's minimal sweetness and fat here, with just two eggs and a cup of milk and a quarter cup of sweetener, so it's really all about the custard soaked bread and fruit.
I was lucky enough to find a nice round, soft loaf of a six grain bread at a small local store, and it worked perfectly here. That said, it was still a bit of shock to bite into it and taste whole grains instead of the usual white, but I forgot all about the difference a bite or two later.
I used a single pint container of blueberries from the freezer rather than the apples, agave instead of honey, and sliced almonds rather than walnuts, so there was a nice nutritional boost in my version, too. The possible variations you can create are endless here.
There's also a savory variation, using lightly cooked vegetables, but I'm going to save my poor old fingers for the moment and just type the basic.
I look forward to snacking on this later, too, because I just so happen to have a half gallon of blueberry ice cream in the freezer. I suspect this is going to become a staple here in Woodstock.
Breakfast Bread Pudding
("Food Matters"; Mark Bittman
Makes 4 - 6 servings
Time: about 1-1/2 hours, largely unattended
Not your usual bread pudding; this has less custard and more bread, fruit and nuts. For variety, use pears, peaches, cherries, or blueberries instead of the apples.
Butter or grapeseed oil for greasing the pan (used spray)
1 cup milk (used 2%)
1/4 cup honey, or to taste (used 1/4 cup agave)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch salt (oops! )
4 medium to large apples, cored, peeled or not, and cut into chunks or slices
1/2 cup raisins, optional (didn't use)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or hazelnuts (used a handful of sliced almonds)
8 slices whole or multigrain bread (preferably stale), cut into 1 inch cubes, about 3 cups
(my loaf was round, just went by the cups, not slices)
1. Heat the oven to 350. Butter a 1-1/2 quart or 8 inch square baking dish. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in the milk, honey, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the apples, raisins and nuts. Then fold in the bread cubes, using your hands or a rubber spatula to make sure everything is evenly coated. Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed; give it another good stir. (The liquid didn't all absorb, probably because the frozen berries added some, but it didn't matter at all.)
2. Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish and smooth out the top. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden and only a little wobbly in the center. Let sit for a few minutes before cutting.
Serve warm or cold. This keeps well for 2 days or more, covered and refrigerated.