This is the time of year for indulgences that keep a cold, winter weary body warm and comforted. What better choice than bread pudding or “poor man’s pudding” as it has been historically known.
Traditionally this ubiquitous dessert has been a way to use up stale bread by soaking it in milk, egg, and sugar along with other available flavorings and baking it until it’s top is golden. The humble bread pudding has been finding it’s way onto the dessert page of upscale menus and those in the New Hope area are no exception.
Start the bread pudding quest in the historic Carversville Inn, 8 miles drive from New Hope. The Inn serves their warm, oozing, gooey, raisin studded pudding with homemade cinnamon ice cream. Apples or pears make seasonal appearances. The pudding is served on a warm vanilla custard that coats every exceptional bite down to the last tiny crumb.
Drive southeast on River Road 9 miles, crossing into Lambertville, New Jersey and pay a visit to Bell’s Tavern. Bell’s bread pudding is dense and richly studded with raisins. Their recipe remains constant, without seasonal additions, and includes a caramel cream sauce that warms the plate with its rich, gooey deliciousness.
Just up the street is DeAnna’s, also taking bread pudding into the realm of culinary ecstasy. DeAnna’s sweet treat is a low slung, less layered, and more pudding like confection that takes creamy to new heights. It is a surprise that the wedge doesn’t deconstruct and pool across the plate. Seasonal fresh or dried fruit or various nuts are added on occasion. Home made whipped cream takes a ride on top of the richly flavored goodness.
Cross the river back into the town of New Hope and order Marsha Brown’s bread pudding. Hers is a more southern take on the homey comfort food, also tall and studded with raisins, but not always on the dessert menu.
So who wins? Honestly all four are of equal delight. Draw your own sweet conclusions.