If you’re looking for a reprieve from your dietarily sensitive friends, may I suggest whipping up a batch of bread pudding? Chockfull of gluten, dairy, eggs, and sugar, bread pudding cares not for food sensitivities, only for gluttonous deliciousness. Same goes for youthfulness and mass appeal. Bread pudding knows it’s associated with old people. It knows a majority of its fans are gumming instead of actually chewing and it doesn’t give a shit. Bread pudding only cares about being custardy, rich, sweet-but-not-too-sweet, and golden. It just wants to win you over, and if you let it into your life more often, maybe that could happen.
I have long relied on a single bread pudding recipe to meet my old person-dietarily insensitive food needs. That recipe comes from Chuck Hughes, chef of Garde-Manger in Montreal, a city that knows exactly how to balance (and push to the edge) the richness of French-influenced food with the long dark days of – 40 degree winters. This bread pudding hits so many delicious flavour notes without being completely and hideously over-the-top: a punch of coconut, a little spike of melted chocolate, and the subtle sweetness of banana. Also there’s a salty buttered rum sauce accompaniment that is almost pornographic in its sultry, drippy gorgeousness.
I hate gushing all over a recipe, like I just did, and then leading into another recipe because it makes it seem like the next one may as well be a sack of trash (not the case). BA’s bread pudding is actually lovely and delicate while also very versatile and wonderfully adaptable. Wafts of cinnamon, orange, and vanilla pair with a crisp almond-bedazzled crust (unless that’s not your jam, in which case you can switch it up SO easily with a billion other flavours). The choice between recipes really just comes down to whether you’re looking for something brazen and ostentatious, or something a little gentler and more minimalist.