Ask and ye shall receive.
In search of my Granny’s bread pudding recipe from long ago, I decided to post a request in the family texting circle. Granny is long gone, and the woman never wrote down a recipe in her life. But I was hoping that – together – we might piece this one together.
Here’s the response I got:
My mother: Your Nanny (Aunt Olive who died last year) made it. She would’ve known. But her recipe was like Granny’s – however much you want of this, that and the other.
My aunt: I don’t have it.
My cousin (Aunt Olive’s daughter): Mom used bread, milk, sugar and maybe eggs. Maybe other ingredients. She would whip up her own meringue using egg whites and sugar, then bake it to turn the top a golden brown.
It’s the meringue that was lurking on the outskirts of my memory. That meringue made the bread pudding different from most other bread puddings.
This little bit of family history helped improve my recipe searching tremendously. I scoured the internet for bread pudding with meringue recipes – and the memories started flooding back. Yes, she used warmed milk. Yes, she set the pudding in a pan of water when she baked it. Yes, she used a cake pan. Yes, it only called for a few eggs.
Here’s what I suspect the recipe was (I’ll try it out):
2 cups soft white bread cubes
1 quart scalded milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten, PLUS
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
9 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon real vanilla
2 egg whites
1/4 cup melted, unsalted butter
Mix bread and milk together. Add the eggs and the egg yolks with 5 tbsp of sugar and salt. Add to the milk mixture with the vanilla and butter.
Mix well and pour into a slightly greased 1 1/2 quart casserole. Bake in a pie pan of water in a 350 degrees F oven for 45 minutes.
For Meringue Topping: Beat the egg whites until stiff and add the 4 tbsp of sugar to it. Pour in slowly.
Top the already baked pudding with it, making swirly peaks for decorations. Bake again at 300 degrees F until a golden brown.