Time To Think About Treasured Family Holiday Desserts
When our family gathered for holidays or special occasions, Grandma Helen’s Chocolate Bread pudding was the requested dessert and I, as the oldest sibling, was in charge of providing it. Writing about pudding seems like an odd story to find on Medium, but here we are.
It all started with Plum Street Chili’s recipe for kielbasa bites (link below), our comments back and forth chatting about family recipes, and the history behind them, during which I mentioned my family’s chocolate bread pudding recipe. Naturally, after mentioning it I had to produce it and of course, it was not where I thought I had put it. Luckily for me, I had the foresight to send the treasured recipe to my younger relatives, and they were able to retrieve it.
I have never given any thought to the history of bread puddings, let alone chocolate bread pudding, until now. Where did Grandma Helen or her mother find the original recipe? Internet research told me the origin of bread pudding is ancient, as far back as the 11 century ensuring nothing, not even stale bread was wasted. The addition of chocolate did not appear in print until 1730, but that does not mean it was not used.
The reliable Fannie Merritt Farmer’s The Boston Cooking School Cook-Book, (my first cookbook was a Fannie Farmer’s), first published in 1896, contains many recipes for bread puddings and their accompanying sauces. Although most of the bread puddings I have eaten in restaurants always have chunks or pieces of bread showing in the pudding, my family recipe eliminates any traces of bread by soaking the bread in the chocolate mix until it is mush. Fannie Farmer’s recipe (available online) calls for soaking the bread, which leads me to suspect my relatives used her recipe for our much-loved version, served with foamy sauce.
Grandma Helen’s Chocolate Bread Pudding
Chocolate Bread Pudding
4 to 5 cups bread squares (day old white bread cut up: best to be not soft and squishy bread)
4 squares of Baker's chocolate (semi-sweet)
2 eggs, separated
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup white sugar
2 cups scalded milk with 1/4 cup of butter melted in it
1/4 tsp. salt
1. tsp cinnamon
Oven set to 350. Grease baking pan/bowl. Preheat a pan…