This bread pudding never lasts beyond 24-hours. It gets sliced, devoured, picked at and nibbled on mercilessly, day and night. I've been wanting to share this recipe since I started this blog. The problem was, whenever I'd get the urge to make it, it was late in the day or just past dinnertime when the lighting was low, and that makes for poor food photography, at least without an armory of lights. So by the time I remembered I wanted to share it here, all that would be left was a skillet of crumbs.
Now, you should know that I'm from a casual family. None of that Leave It to Beaver stuff. My mom cooks intuitively, the way she was taught, and that rubbed off on me, which means you'll find no neatly handwritten vintage recipe cards in her kitchen or mine. What you will find are hastily scribbled recipes on whatever paper was handy at the time, shoved between the pages of cookbooks she never used, and always a pile of clean dish towels-- that's one of the simple pleasures I picked up from her that I enjoy in my own kitchen to this day.
What I love about this recipe is that it's very forgiving. There are few if any precise measurements, and I've never seen her pick up a recipe book. So, this is how she handed down this bread pudding recipe to me when I called long-distance and asked for it: she dictated it enthusiastically right over the phone in her cute southern drawl.
But, why torture you with my chicken scratch when I can type it neatly for you right here?
Dottie's Apple & Raisin Skillet Bread Pudding
You will need:
1. A cast iron skillet (the one I use most is 9")
2. A large mixing bowl
About 6-10 slices of white bread. (I use 10 because I'm greedy!) Potato bread also works well.
A pinch of salt (about 1/4 tsp)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 medium to large egg, beaten
1/2 cup of raisins
1 medium or large sweet apple, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 stick unsalted butter melted (put aside 1 TBSP to grease the skillet)
1 tsp. vegetable or canola oil
4+ cups of milk-- enough to soak the bread thoroughly
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp rum extract (optional)
Preheat oven to 350º F.
Meanwhile, roughly tear your bread into chunks (about 2" big or so) and add to the bowl.
Add all ingredients except the egg. Let sit for about 10-15 minutes to soak up the moisture, then stir together thoroughly. Do not overmix; the resulting consistency should be something like super-chunky oatmeal. If it's too dry, simply stir in more milk.
Next, I like to taste my mixture to make sure it's sweet enough, then I mix in the beaten egg.
Heat the skillet in the oven. When the skillet gets hot (not smoking), melt the TBSP of butter you reserved and the tsp of oil together in the skillet. Grease the hot skillet with this mixture. I like to use a pastry brush for this.
Immediately pour the bread pudding mixture into the skillet and bake at 350º F on the center oven rack for approximately 45-50 minutes.
Watch it rise... Once the top has browned, press it with your finger to see if it has solidified; it should not be jiggly when you wiggle the pan, and the crust should be pulling away from the sides of the skillet by now. Remove from the oven and let it rest for about 15 minutes if you can wait that long. The center will sink in just a little bit. (By now, your house smells divine and you have your coffee or tea waiting patiently on stand-by.)
The result will be a yummy, tender pudding with a chewy, sweet crust. Equally delicious hot, room temperature, or cold; off a lovely dish, a paper towel, or eaten out of hand. And if yours comes out as good as mine, it won't last more than 24 hours!