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Recipes: Mini rum-raisin bread puddings

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My mom and my great aunt, Lil, both made bread puddings, but each had very different ideas as to how to make it. Neither used a recipe, and it never occurred to me to at least note the ingredients each used and approximate the amount of each.

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Sadly, it has been over 12 years since I’ve had my mom’s version and almost 10 years since I’ve had Lil’s and I’ve not had any that even approached either one of their recipes, until now. The March/April issue of Eating Well magazine has a recipe for mini rum-raisin bread puddings which actually combines the best of both their recipes.

If you’d like to make it ahead, cover and refrigerate the pudding and the sauce in separate containers for up to 1 day. Also, if you don’t care for rum, try substituting apple cider in lieu of it.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, divided
  • 4 tablespoons dark rum (or apple cider), divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 5 cups cubed or torn whole-wheat country bread (½ inch)
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup half-and-half

Directions:

  1. Position oven rack in center of oven; preheat oven to 325°F. Coat a 12-cup nonstick muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small microwave-safe bowl.
  3. Whisk eggs, milk, ½ cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons rum (or cider), cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg in a large bowl.
  4. Whisk in the melted butter and raisins.
  5. Gently stir in bread.
  6. Let stand, stirring occasionally, to let the bread absorb the liquid, about 15 minutes.
  7. Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin cups (about 1/3 cup each). Top each with about 1 teaspoon pecans.
  8. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, ½ cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons rum (or cider) and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan.
  9. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking until bubbling and the sugar is mostly dissolved, about 2 minutes.
  10. Whisk in half-and-half and continue cooking, whisking vigorously and constantly, until bubbling and thickened slightly, about 1 minute more.
  11. Remove from heat and whisk slowly for 1 minute more. Let the sauce stand until ready to serve; it will thicken as it sits.
  12. Serve the bread puddings with the sauce,

Serves 12: 1 pudding & 1 tablespoon sauce each

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