Traditional Tuesday – Bread Pudding

Over the weekend, I decided to clean out the bulk of my refrigerator. What I came across were the following: Whole Wheat Bread, Mushrooms, Eggs, Milk, Thyme, Cream of Mushroom soup and White Cheddar Cheese. So it’s Sunday morning and I don’t want to waste food so I decided to create a family style portion of this comforting, hearty dish, which can also serve as a perfect potluck dish.

What is bread pudding?

Bread pudding is a dish that comprises of layering pieces of bread with a bunch of ingredients and mixing it with egg cream mixture prior to baking the concoction.

Where did bread pudding originate?

There are various version of where bread pudding originated from. The concept of this comforting dish came from the idea of utilizing leftovers while not wasting food. After reading the versions, I personally came to the conclusion that the bread pudding originated from the Egyptians. The Egyptians call their dish “Om Ali”, a dessert containing bread, milk or cream, almonds, and raisins. The Romans also created their version using stale bread, milk, fat and sweetener. In the Middle East, they create their own version called “Eish es Serny” which contains dried bread, sugar, honey syrup, rosewater and caramel. Currently, there is an Indian dish called “Shahi Tukra”, which is made from bread, ghee, saffron, sugar, rosewater and almonds. Of course, the real geniuses behind this comforting dessert do not get the proper recognition for creating bread pudding.

Now let’s get into on what food history has addressed the origins of bread pudding. Historians have stated that bread pudding originated in the Middle Ages with the invention of custard. By the 13th century the dish was labelled as a “poor man’s pudding” because it was made from leftover bread and was consumed by the lower classes. By the 18th century, the dish was served to people who were sick because the bread was easy to digest.

Over the last few centuries bread pudding has evolved to become a versatile dish where it can be made sweet, which popular in most high end restaurants (found in desserts) and savory.

A year ago during NYC restaurant week I had the privilege to eat the the Australian restaurant “Burke and Wills” located in the Upper West Side, which permanently closed early this year. They served an amazing dessert that was part of their three course prix fixe called “Bread and Butter Pudding” which was made with bread, toffee sauce, marscapone, and hazelnut.

Burke and Wills “Butter and Bread Pudding”

Over the weekend, I purged the refrigerator by utilizing all of the Whole Wheat Bread, Mushrooms, Eggs, Milk, Thyme, Cream of Mushroom soup and White Cheddar Cheese to made a Savory Mushroom Bread Pudding .

The dish came out almost perfect because I used what I had leftover so this version had an unequal ratio. There was way more bread than there was mushroom and cheese. The cream of mushroom soup and thyme saved the day because the flavor of the dish was on point. In addition this dish serves six people and after consuming a third of what would be considered one slice was already filling. I had a lot of fun making this dish and would like to explore different variation of creating bread pudding. I definitely want to explore creating a different version that is gluten and dairy free.

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