If you’ve found yourself with some slightly stale bread and don’t want to just throw it out, take a cue from Laura Matthias (author of Extraveganza, one of my favourite cookbooks) and make bread pudding! All you have to do is cube the bread and leave it out in the open air to dry out (if it’s not in the open air then it might mold, and no one wants that). Once you’ve collected enough dried bread, you can make a bread pudding with it. This is one that I made recently:
Spiced Rhubarb-Apple-Almond Bread Pudding
5 cups cubed, stale bread
1 ½ cups rhubarb, chopped
2 apples, chopped (I didn’t bother peeling them, but you could if you wanted to)
¾ cup demerara sugar
½ cup water
2 – 2 ½ cups almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cardamom
1 good pinch each of allspice, cloves and nutmeg
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon arrowroot
1 apple, sliced (for topping)
1 cup almond slivers or chopped almonds (for topping)
Place the bread in a casserole baking dish and set aside. Combine the rhubarb, apples, sugar and water in a saucepan. Simmer for 10 or so minutes, until the rhubarb and apples can be mashed easily. Place the saucepan ingredients in a blender and add everything except the bread and topping ingredients, blending until smooth (or you can put them in a bowl and blend with a hand-held blender, like I did). Pour this mixture over the bread and allow to sit for 30-45 minutes, preheating the oven to 350 degrees toward the end of that time. If all the liquid seems to have been absorbed by then, add some more almond milk and stir gently. Now sprinkle the top with ¾ of the almonds, arrange the apple slices on top of the almonds, and finish by sprinkling on the remainder of the almonds. Bake for about an hour.
I used rye bread for the pudding, which I think made it especially flavourful. While it can be eaten by itself, in my opinion it tastes best with either warmed almond milk or some vegan custard or vanilla sauce – delicious!
A note on the sauce:
Not that you need a recipe for making custard sauce, but here’s what I do:
I heat about 2/3 of a cup of almond milk in a small saucepan until almost boiling. Meanwhile, I whisk 2 teaspoons of vegan custard powder and 1 teaspoon of cane sugar with a couple of tablespoons of almond milk in a small bowl until very smooth. Then I whisk the custard mixture into the saucepan and continue to whisk for a couple of minutes (or else it lumps up) and then I take it off the heat and stir in a couple of crops of almond or vanilla extract (and pour some of it over my bread pudding – there’s lots extra, of course)
Before I had custard powder, I made vanilla sauce – I basically did the same thing as above, only instead of custard powder I added 2 teaspoons of arrowroot. I also added probably twice as much sugar and a full ½ teaspoon of vanilla, and a small pinch of salt as well.