One of my favorite stories about Ma-Mee, my paternal grandmother, is how she made her bread pudding. Always rich and sweet and filled with fruit and raisins, her children fought over the corner pieces to get to the delectable browned crust. She’d buy a couple of loaves of local French bread (Binder’s or Leidenheimer, most likely), and place them on top of the refrigerator for a couple days to get stale.
As a child, I never liked bread pudding. The idea of moist bread and raisins (yuck!) grossed me out, so I avoided it. Until this Christmas.
Anyone who has decided to tackle a holiday dish traditionally prepared by a beloved family member knows what it is to be intimidated. Deciding to attempt a bread pudding was a lesson in courage, as my mother chirped perpetually at my elbows, telling me how Ma-Mee did it differently – over and over again.
For my first bread pudding I marshalled the best ingredients and tips from several heirloom recipes and incorporated Ma-Mee’s tradition of adding lots of fruit and butter. Mine, like hers, also uses French baguette bread. For the sauce, in place of whiskey, bourbon or rum, I used the delightful DiSaronno liqueur.
Pretty good, no?