A few weeks ago, I was looking through the cupboard and fridge thinking about what food I needed to use up. I try to avoid wasting food. If you want to know more about why, have a look on the Wasted Food blog, cos Jonathan Bloom lists a bunch of reasons.
Anyway, I found half a stale baguette, some pecans that were on their last legs (or would have been, if pecans had legs), and some apples. The baguette was like a rock – there was no eating that unless it was significantly softened somehow, which prompted me to think of a bread pudding. However, I was never the biggest fan of the kinds of bread puddings I had as a kid. They were made of white sandwich loaf (too soft, which made for a soggy pudding), with milk, eggs, sugar and sultanas. I’m not big on sultanas in sweet food, although I love them in curry. My childhood memory was not what I wanted for a bread pudding. (Sorry Mum and Dad, I know you like it, but it’s not my style.) So I hunted down a new recipe.
My google-fu did not fail me, and I found a recipe for Cranberry Pecan Bread Pudding in the Dairy Free Cooking section of About.com. There seems to be some good stuff there, so it’s worth having a look. I tweaked the recipe quite a bit (halving it, then increasing some ingredients, reducing others, swapping nutmeg for cardamom), but I’m really happy with the end result. It’s American tasting (hello cranberries, apples and pecans), but it’s got a special little something something that makes it unlike the typical American fare (probably the ginger and cardamom). The consistency was soft, but not soggy, and the nuts added a lovely bite.
I actually made it with only a quarter of a chopped apple, but I couldn’t taste it at all, so I’ve increased it to a whole apple in the recipe below. I increased the pecans too – I used only a third of a cup, but Yankee Elv insisted it needed more. Otherwise, she loved this pudding though – and so did I!
Cranberry Pecan Bread Pudding
- 4.5 cups stale bread, cut into 1.5cm (about half an inch) cubes
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries (currants might be a good alternative if you prefer them)
- 1 apple, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped or crumbled
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp cardamom (or you could use nutmeg)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 cups plain non-dairy milk (I used soy)
- 1 tab vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup liquid sweetener (I used agave nectar)
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (about 350°F).
- Lightly oil a medium-sized heatproof dish (such as a pyrex dish) and set it aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes, cranberries, apple, pecans, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and salt until well mixed.
- Using a wooden spoon, stir in the non-dairy milk, vegetable oil and liquid sweetener until well combined.
- Allow the mixture to stand for 10 minutes, so all the bread is soaked. The liquid should be almost gone.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish and bake until mostly firm and golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes.
- Serve warm with non-dairy custard (which I make the same way as dairy custard, just with soy milk. Please note: there are no eggs in my custard, ever!)