Every Thursday morning my wife, Grace, and I wake up before the sun comes out and drive half an hour to a church we are not members of. We roll up our sleeves in the church’s kitchen with four other people, including Georgine, our ninety-year-old friend, to cook a meal for sixty people in our community who are homebound for a variety of reasons, including chronic illness. We package up the meals and a group of volunteers deliver them. I have never been a morning person, but I’ve come to look forward to Thursday mornings more than any other day of the week. I love this group of people and the food we make, and it means so much to have a tangible way to give back to our community. Here is my bread pudding recipe that I make there often (it’s the best way to stretch a ton of leftover bread into something really delicious). If you’re baking for sixty as I normally do, feel free to triple this. If you skip the Butterscotch Sauce, increase the sugar to 1 full cup [200 g] to compensate (but I highly recommend making the sauce).
–Julia Turshen —Julia Turshen
Angel Food Bread Pudding
[453 g] white or whole-wheat sandwich bread, torn or cut into bite-size pieces
[453 g] cinnamon-raisin sandwich bread, torn or cut into bite-size pieces
Preheat the oven to 400°F [200°C]. Spray the bottoms and sides of a 12-by-18-inch [30-by- 46-cm] roasting pan (whatever you would roast a turkey in—a disposable aluminum pan is totally fine) with cooking spray.
Place the bread in the roasting pan. Place the sweetened condensed milk, sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt in a large pot set over high heat. Warm the mixture, stirring now and then to dissolve the sugar, until bubbles form at the edge and then turn off the heat.
Place the cinnamon in a very large bowl with half the cream and whisk well to form a paste. Add the rest of the cream and whisk well to dissolve the paste, then crack all of the eggs into the bowl and whisk well to combine (making the cinnamon paste helps it incorporate evenly). Ladle in about 1 cup [240 ml] of the hot milk mixture and whisk well to combine. Repeat the process a few more times to gently warm up the eggs. Add whatever remains of the hot milk mixture to the eggs and whisk well.
Pour the custard over the bread and stir well to combine (I use my hands to do this). Press the bread pieces down to make sure they’re completely submerged in the custard. Bake the bread pudding until golden brown, set throughout (test by jiggling the pan), and slightly puffed, about 40 minutes. Serve warm with the Butterscotch Sauce drizzled on top.
Place the butter, brown sugar, cream, and salt in a medium saucepan set over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, decrease the heat and simmer, stirring now and then, until slightly reduced, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Serve warm. You can also cool it to room temperature, store it in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week, and then reheat in a saucepan set over low heat until warm. Makes about 2 cups [480 ML].