We’ve affectionately dubbed the time between Columbus Day and Halloween “HallowThanksMas”. This is a time that all eyes are on the three holidays that mark the last quarter of the year. Now that we’re down to “ThankMas” season, we start to shift gears with a bigger focus on the eating holidays. Tis the season to be jolly and the 12 Distinctive Inns of New England (DINE) are starting to plan for your holiday and winter romantic getaways. Nothing beats ringing in the holidays like a romantic getaway to a New England inn, complete with all the wonderful foods and decorations. As we in DINE country prepare for the holidays, we like to turn to some of our tried and true recipes that we know will feed the crowds that will gather in your home and ours this holiday season. And when it comes to New England comfort food, we think of Bread Pudding.
According to a story in the Daily Gazette, food historians trace the history of bread pudding to the early 11th and 12th centuries. It was born from the need for frugal cooks to find ways to use stale, leftover bread instead of letting it go to waste. In 13th century England, bread pudding was known as “poor man’s pudding,” as it was a popular dish with the lower classes who were careful to use each and every morsel of food. Today, while bread pudding is still a way to use up leftover bread, it has gained a reputation as a comfort food and has come back into vogue as a featured dessert item in trendy restaurants, including some of the Distinctive Inns of New England.
Bread Pudding is a dish made by layering bits of bread and any add-ins then pouring a custard sauce over before baking. The possibilities for the dish are endless, as creative chefs can vary the type of bread and any ingredients they choose to add. Two of the Distinctive Inns of New England have come up with very creative recipes for bread pudding that take common bread to a very uncommon level.
Apple-Cheddar Bread Pudding with Spice Maple-Butter Sauce from Chesterfield Inn
Bread Pudding Ingredients:
4 Large Eggs
2 Cups Whole Milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
7 slices firm white bread, crusts removed and cut into ¾-inch cubes (about 3 ½ C)
1 Large Apple, peeled, cored and cut into ½-inch cubes
2/3 cup (lightly packed) Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Bread Pudding Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 8×8 inch square glass baking dish and set aside.
In large bowl, whisk eggs to combine. Add milk, sugar, butter, cinnamon and salt; whisk again until sugar is dissolved. Add bread, apples and cheese and stir gently to combine.
Transfer mixture to prepared dish, distributing solids evenly. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until pudding is golden on top and set all the way to center. Dust with additional cinnamon and serve warm with Maple-Butter Sauce.
Maple-Butter Sauce ingredients:
2 sticks Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Vermont Maple Syrup
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground allspice
In small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add maple syrup and cook, whisking occasionally, until butter blends with syrup and sauce is slightly thickened. Serve warm over bread pudding.
Serves 8 – 10 people
Pumpkin Bread Pudding with a Vanilla Rum Sauce from Rabbit Hill Inn
Ingredients for Bread Pudding:
½ tsp vanilla
½ loaf French bread, cubed & partially dried
3 croissants, cubed & partially dried
1 pint Half & Half
1 Tbls cinnamon
½ cup sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
6 ramekins or muffin tins
7 oz canned pumpkin
Method for bread pudding
Bring Half & Half to simmer and whisk in vanilla and sugar. Take off heat and whisk in pumpkin until smooth.
Add in bread & croissants and incorporate until bread has soaked up the mixture.
Add eggs, nutmeg, and cinnamon and work until fully incorporated.
Grease 6 ramekins or muffin tin and fill with the mixture. Bake at 375-400°F for 20-30 minutes. (for a convection oven, bake at 325°F)
Ingredients for Vanilla Rum Sauce:
2 oz Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
5 egg yolks
1 ½ cups heavy cream
½ cup sugar
¾ tsp vanilla
Method for Rum Sauce
Combine all ingredients in a metal mixing bowl.
Whisk over a hot water bath until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. (Make sure the water bath is not so hot as to cause the eggs to scramble). Allow to cool.
Rewarm to order by placing in microwave or heating on a very low heat on the stove top.
Chocolate Bourbon Bread Pudding From Chesterfield Inn
1 lb cinnamon raisin bread cut into 1″ cubes
1 cup dried cherries, coarse chopped
1½ cups milk
1 cup brown sugar
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 T vanilla extract
½ cup bourbon whiskey
8 large eggs
2 tsp unsalted butter
1 13″x9″x2″ baking pan
Combine milk, cream and sugar in a heavy sauce pot and cook over med-high heat until sugar dissolves and mixture nears a boil.
Remove from heat; add chocolate, stir until smooth. Beat eggs, vanilla and bourbon together to combine. SLOWLY whisk in chocolate into mixture in increments (to temper). Toss the bread and cherries in this mixture and let stand for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease the baking pan generously with butter. Add bread pudding mixture and cover with foil. Bake 35 minutes in a hot water bath.
Remove foil. Continue baking another 10-20 minutes until set in center and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool thoroughly on a rack.
Learn more about planning your next delicious getaway to the 12 Distinctive Inns of New England by clicking below on links that will take you directly to each of their websites.
In Rhode Island: Cliffside Inn in Newport
In Connecticut: Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in Niantic