On Christmas Eve, Tom, Melea and I went to a nearby Golden Corral for dinner. It seemed odd for a December 24th but we had already had “Christmas” the week before in Atlanta with all the stateside children we could gather. Five out of eight was a pretty high number. After we finished eating but were still seated and talking, we witnessed a constant parade of people carrying boxed baked goods, fruits and vegetables into a back room of the restaurant. My curiosity insisted so I had to ask someone who looked in charge. “What’s going on? Do you need help bringing in the food?” We had discovered the preparation activities of a “Feed the Hungry” meal that was to happen the next day. For over thirty years the diminutive, cropped-blonde overseer had developed a system and was making it work. She enlisted us to join the work force and gave us our marching orders. Melea and I each took four trips hauling the precious cargo. Then the boss-lady insisted that we take home some of the goods. After investigating more about the big event, we discovered we could sign up for next year sometime in November to help with the serving. They already had a full staff for the next day this year. Approximately 1500 people would be served from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. I thought of so many people I knew who would benefit from the meal the next day. If I couldn’t get them there for the meal, I could take home some of the leftovers to distribute. On Christmas Day, I was able to gather a couple of people to take for the free meal at Golden Corral. A benefactor pays the restaurant (in part or in whole, I’m not sure) to prepare turkey, ham, green beans, dressing, rolls and mashed potatoes with gravy along with drinks. For some reason the crowd was not as big as usual and there was more than enough to take home. So much food was left at the 2:00 hour, we made take out meals. Also, a box of 24 French bread loaves from Jersey Mike’s made it’s way to my car. What to do with all that? Baron’s Bread Pudding! And, I still had some of the sauce in the freezer. Whoop. (This recipe is in my A Dollop and A Pinch cookbook.)
Baron’s Bread Pudding
Preheat oven to 350˚
3 cups milk
1 24” day old (NOT FRESH) French bread loaf, cut into 1 1/2”-2”
cubes (about 12 cups)
2/3 cup craisins
1/4 cup salted butter, melted 4 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
Scald the milk in a heavy medium saucepan. Remove
from heat and add butter to melt. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Pour over bread cubes and craisins and mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and add the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Mix well and add to bread mixture.
Butter a 3-4” deep baking dish thoroughly on all inner surfaces. Pour mixture into it and distribute evenly. Bake uncovered for 1 hour. Check to see if knife inserted in the
center comes out clean and the top begins to brown forming a rough crust. If not, bake an additional 10 minutes, or so.
Serve warm or chilled with Honey Bourbon sauce (see below) and whipped cream.
Baron’s Honey Bourbon Sauce
1 1/4 lbs butter (whole block and 1 stick)
2 2/3 cups granulated sugar
9 egg yolks (use whites for black bean brownies or
1/2 cup half and half
4 teaspoons corn starch mixed in 1/2 cup of cold water
5 Tablespoons of Honey Bourbon Whiskey
Melt butter and dissolve sugar over double boiler. Add egg
yolks and whip vigorously so that egg yolks do not curdle.
To this mixture add half and half and corn starch mixture.
Let cook over double boiler for 5 minutes. Remove from
heat and add whiskey. Use 2 oz per serving. (or pour the sauce over the hot bread pudding if serving the whole pan like a sheet cake)
Now, the bread can be shared with many in its reincarnated form. That is, if I will share it…it is so yummy. It tastes almost like French toast with a special syrup. With all those eggs and milk, it IS a nutritious breakfast, right? Right? Baron’s Bread Pudding fits in the real food category not the dessert category, right?….. So, I’ll do a few more miles on the tread mill. It’s that delicious.