Tuesday Take Two: Bread Pudding And Other Southernisms…

Mexican Bread Pudding–Capirotada, With Cheddar Cheese

In the South, we have a particular fondness for using terms of endearment, and we don’t reserve them just for those close to us.  We use them everywhere, at all times, and to anyone.  If we don’t know your real name, we’ll call you Sugar, Sweetheart, Sweetie, or Darlin’. If we know your real name, we’ll still call you Sugar, Sweetheart, Pun’kin, Cupcake, Puddin’, or Honey.  In line at the grocery store the other day, the cashier called me “Darlin’”, “Sweetheart”, and “Love”….all in a span of 60 seconds.  If you are a male, you may be called any of the above, but you may also be called Shorty (if you are tall), Slim (if you are not slim), or Booger (I don’t think that one needs further explanation).  You could also be called Lefty, Stretch, Goober, Scooter, or Jack.  Unless you’re name IS Jack, in which case you’ll be called something else.

When my boys were babies, my mom called them “my little turnip seed” and “my little pun’kin seed”.  As any self-respecting Southern Belle would do, I called my eldest boy Pun’kin, until his little brother was born, and then I called him Bubba.  Then the baby was called Pun’kin.  It’s a wonder my kids even know their real names.

So many of the Southern nicknames illustrate the Southern fondness for sweets.  One of my favorites is Pudding.

Pudding is not really that cold stuff in the little plastic cups at the grocery store.  Pudding is a very general term, referring to anything from custard, to a moist steamed cake or bread, to bread that is layered with mascerated fruit.  Hasty Pudding, or Indian Pudding are porridges made from corn meal, and served warm.  Rice and Tapioca Pudding are thick custards cooked with their respective namesakes. There are savory puddings such as Corn Pudding, Carrot Pudding, or Squash Pudding, which are sort of soufflé-like.  Christmas pudding is sort of a dense, moist molasses-y brown bread, packed with fruits and nuts, and usually steamed in a mold of some sort.  Fruit cake is a Christmas Pudding.

My favorite is bread pudding, of which there are many variations.  French, Cajun, or Creole bread pudding is made my soaking leftover bread in sweet custard, and then baking until cooked through.  It may have various nuts, fruit, or spices.  It is often served with a warm, frequently booze-y sauce poured over it.  The very similar Mexican style bread pudding is called Capirotada.  It may be made with tea, raisins, and often, bits of cheddar cheese.  Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it!  It is seriously delicious.

My recipe is a simple, very versatile recipe, which can be adapted any number of ways.  I have listed some variations, but you can dream up more, I am sure….

Creole Bread Pudding With Rum Sauce

Bread Pudding

  •  1 large loaf French bread, torn in 2” pieces (should be about 12 cups)
  • ½ C gold raisins
  • ½ C dark or spiced rum (may use water instead)
  •  6 cups whole milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t ground nutmeg

Place bread pieces into large mixing bowl and let sit.  Place raisins and rum in a small saucepan, and simmer for ten minutes.  Allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Place milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla and spices in a blender and whiz for 20 seconds.  Pour over the bread pieces and add the raisins and rum.  Mix well, and allow to set for 30 minutes. Pour into a pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  You may use a 13×9, a large bundt pan, a 4 quart casserole, or 2 large loaf pans.  Bake at 350* for one hour, or until set in the center.

Serve warm, with a drizzle of sauce.

Hard Sauce

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • ½ C dark or spiced rum (if wanting to go booze-free, use additional cream or light cream)
  • ¼ C cream

Bring all ingredients to simmer over medium heat, beating with a whisk to incorporate.  Serve warm over bread pudding…

Yummy, Rummy, Sauce Pooling Around The Bread Pudding

Variations:

With nuts–Add ½ Cup chopped toasted pecans or walnuts if you like.

Apricot Brandy—use diced apricots in place of the raisins.  Use Brandy in place of the Rum in both the pudding and the sauce.  If you like nuts, consider using toasted almonds.

Cranberry—use dried cranberries in place of the raisins.  Very pretty at Christmas Time

Capirotada—stir in 1 cup of chopped mild cheddar cheese before baking

Apple Brandy—used diced dried apples in place of all or part of the raisins.  Use brandy in place of the rum.

Tropical—use diced dried pineapple in place of the raisins, and use coconut rum..  If using nuts, use macadamia.

Have fun playing!

Yummiest Variation Of All

Bake your pudding in loaf pans.  Refrigerate overnight.   Invert onto cutting board, and slice into 1″ thick slices.  Fry in butter in a medium hot skillet until brown on both sides.  Top with a little drizzle of rum sauce or maple syrup.  The BEST French Toast you will EVER eat.

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22 Comments on “Tuesday Take Two: Bread Pudding And Other Southernisms…”

  1. 2012/11/27 at 12:54 pm #

    That’s good stuff, darlin’…

  2. 2012/11/27 at 1:00 pm #

    I consider myself a connoisseur of bread pudding, and there are couple of variations you haven’t mentioned: chocolate; lemon poppy seed; and the famous chef Jacques Pepin likes to use munchkins (the donut whole kind, not the small residents of Oz).

    To be honest, I’ve never made bread pudding myself; but it isn’t hard to guess the ingredient that goes into each of those variations.

    By the way, around here I don’t think fruitcake would ever be considered a pudding. They’re more the cake version of hardtack: they last forever, and nobody eats them from choice, but every bomb shelter should have some.

    • 2012/11/27 at 1:08 pm #

      I have long held the belief that there is really only one fruitcake—not one type, but literally only one loaf of it— and it was created some 300 years ago. It has been passed around from person to person to person with rapidfire speed, as nobody actually dares to consume it.

      • 2012/11/27 at 2:30 pm #

        There you go… those monks have been running a con game all these centuries.

      • 2012/11/27 at 2:56 pm #

        My family makes two kinds of fruit cake: the fallout shelter kind and the kind made with handfuls of different nuts and dried fruit reconstituted in booze. I am ALWAYS shocked that the fallout shelter one gets eaten while I get to take large quantities of the delicious one home with me. I blame the pies and pound cakes and layered desserts for drawing attention away from this Christmas marvel. …but I’m not too upset by it.

  3. 2012/11/27 at 1:49 pm #

    Normally New Yorkers don’t go around using nicknames (and we won’t get into anything else they might call you). But a couple of months ago I accompanied Brian to a reunion of boat captains (something he did as a young man to pay for school) and everybody had nicknames. In fact, everyone that saw Brian said ‘hey Rocky!’ Rocky?? I asked him, and several of the men, why that particular name but nobody knew. Everyone’s nicknames somehow attached and that’s that. Weird. :) Oh, and even us northerners like bread pudding. :)

    • 2012/11/27 at 3:48 pm #

      Well, we use nicknames more sparingly too….But that is wayyyyy different than the Southern terms of endearment. A nickname doesn’t change week over week, or even day to day. Southern terms of endearment are not unique to the person being referred to, nor will they be referred to the same way twice, in most cases. Sometimes it’s because they can’t remember your real name, so they just say something that sounds kind. They could just call you Pal, Dude, or Bro, but those are too rude for most southern sensibilities. So we get, Sugar, Honey, Darlin’, Pumpkin, and so on…..

      Not long ago at the grocery store, the cashier called me Hun, Sweetheart, and Love all during the same transaction. And she was a good ten years younger than me. True story.

  4. 2012/11/27 at 2:51 pm #

    Who would have thought that my afternoon break would be so educational? It’s kind of funny that I never put 2-and-2 together relating bread pudding, Christmas pudding, custards, etc.

    I love your base recipe and all variations! I haven’t made bread pudding in a while, so I think it’s about time.

  5. Mad Scientist
    2012/11/27 at 5:18 pm #

    I wonder where, ” Well bless his (or her) heart” fits in….though maybe not a term of endearment….generally I heart that after someone has done something incredibly stupid:

    ” Hey did you hear was caught running form the cops on a go kart?”

    “Well bless his heart, no….”

    I have been using the name Chumley sine the early nineties, but I cannot anymore due to a moron on the History Channel. I always like using it, since no one else did. Oh well, maybe that show will go off the air…bless their heart…..

    • 2012/11/27 at 8:34 pm #

      Look for a post soon on how to speak southern, but bless his heart translates roughly to F$#@ Him.

  6. 2012/11/27 at 8:18 pm #

    Pudding is definitely not just that cold stuff. Yorkshire Pudding and Figgy Pudding are two more good examples.

  7. 2012/11/27 at 8:41 pm #

    Thanks for the great recipe and story. I love how people from the south are so warm.

  8. 2012/11/27 at 10:31 pm #

    There is absolutely nothing as wonderful as bread pudding. It evokes all the fond memories of childhood nursery food. You have elevated it to new heights with this recipe. It even went to the head of the class when I made it in our French bistro. I wasn’t expecting the enthusiastic response to this comfort food dessert. What’s not to adore. V.

  9. 2012/11/28 at 8:18 am #

    Canadians don’t do nicknames very much, but I wish we did. It sounds so friendly. Unfortunately, the ones my uncle taught me were Weasel Lips, Wiener Rat, and Little Fungus. I often catch myself using these terms of endearment–and receiving the oddest glares in return.

  10. 2012/11/28 at 8:20 am #

    I am such a bread pudding fan and I love the creative variations you’ve come up with. I need to remember to add rum in mine :)

  11. 2012/11/28 at 8:34 am #

    I lurrve bread pudding. I also use endearments often. If you are a girl I will be calling you girly, hun, sweets, or something of the sort. And the boyfriend has a ton of names :P

  12. 2012/11/28 at 9:55 am #

    For a great Kentucky variation, use a good bourbon instead. So good!

  13. deadmousediaries
    2012/11/28 at 3:20 pm #

    Please let all of us loyal readers know when you book your first stand-up gig! Too funny!

  14. 2012/12/03 at 12:34 pm #

    LOVE the Cajun Night Before Christmas and the recipes!

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