Yesterday I received some very sad news. I lost my grandfather, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. Though we were aware earlier in the week that he had taken a turn for the worst, that warning did very little to soften the blow struck by those tiny words.
Before the disease took hold, he was an active, athletic man, competing in cycling events and cross country skiing races well into his senior years, his various medals and accolades adorning the walls in the basement of my grandparent’s home.
They live in Michigan, and growing up in Connecticut made it difficult for us to see them often, though our one tradition while I was growing up was to have them with us for Christmas, or travel out to the Mid-west (16 hour car ride) for the holiday. I’ll never forget how high the snow banks out there looked to my young eyes, as my grandpa sprayed my brother and me with snow from the snow blower.
I remember him reclining in his Laz-E-Boy chair, the lights on the Christmas tree twinkling behind him as the snow fell outside and my grandma played Christmas carols on the piano. He was a always a soft spoken man, but I remember the little jokes he told the last time I saw him and the wispy chuckles that followed, his eyes crinkling up with laughter. These are the memories of him I will always cherish.
Since my fondest memories of him revolve around holiday times, I thought this bread pudding would be a cheerful tribute. Warm and inviting, this bread pudding covered with caramel sauce is a dish I can envision as part of a holiday spread during the depths of a Michigan winter.
Share it with someone you love, and spread the warmth, because we could all do with a little extra.
One Year Ago: Spiced Stewed Beef
- 8 cups cubed cinnamon bread (or challah or any other thick bread)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup heavy cream (or you can use all milk)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup caramel sauce (I used some of my apple cider caramel sauce)
- Grease an 8x8” pan and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, sugar and vanilla until well combined. Add in the bread cubes and stir to evenly coat the bread with the mixture.
- Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and let site for 20-30 minutes to let the bread soak up all that goodness. During the last ten minutes of the soaking period, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Bake for 20-25 mins, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and poke the top all over with the toothpick.
- Pour your caramel sauce over the bread pudding, making sure to spread it to cover evenly. Let cool for at least 15 mins, then slice and serve!