When I was very young my mother loved to bake different desserts, and every afternoon she surprised us with a new and original treat. Bread pudding was one of her favorites, but never seemed to be the same dessert. Sometimes it had raisins in it –I used to hate them at the time-, others she added banana slices, or lined the baking pan with caramel. When she turned the pudding upside-down, a pool of golden caramel sauce dripped out of it for our delight.
Many generations of frugal cooks have been skilled at the creation of countless ways to avoid wasting food. Bread is one of the easiest and most successful ingredients to recycle, and turning stale bread into bread pudding has always been a wonderful way to give new life to an otherwise useless piece of food. This is probably why this dessert became so popular in many countries around the world to begin with.
In Peru, however, we use Chancay bread, a large, sweet and spongy bread from the north of Lima, and we don´t wait for it to become stale. This pudding recipe somewhat resembles a soufflé, and can be made with brioche, croissant, baguette, or plain sandwich bread instead of Chancay. This time I used finely sliced peaches, but chopped apricots, pears, plums, cherries, or any other fresh or dried fruit can be used instead of peach.
Serve the pudding warm or at room temperature, garnished with peach slices and mint leaves, to add color. Vanilla ice cream or a rich and silky custard, or Crème Anglaise are a great option too.
Do you have any fond memories of this lovely dessert? How do you like yours?
- 2 cups milk
- 5 eggs
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups fresh Chancay bread, or any stale bread, cubed
- 1 peach, finely sliced
- Peach slices to garnish
- Mint leaves to garnish
- In a bowl combine milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and bread. Let rest for 30 minutes. Add the peach slices.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a round or rectangular baking pan. Pour the bread mixture into the pan and bake for 45 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.
- Serve warm or at room temperature. Garnish with peach slices and mint.
- Serve at once or add a scoop of ice cream, caramel sauce or custard.