Meta Makes Me Sift Bread Crumbs

You probably don’t recall my friend Meta (https://historylive.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/meet-my-new-friend-meta/), but I still have the two-volume cookbook.  A month or so ago I decided to make dinner from some version of her menus (I rarely have the ingredients on hand to follow one exactly), and wound up with this for dessert:

Cocoa Bread Pudding

1-1/2 cups evaporated milk
2-1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups sifted dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cream

Combine evaporated milk and plain milk in a saucepan, add butter and head to scalding.  Pour over bread crumbs, stir well and set aside.  Mix sugar and cocoa thoroughly and add to beaten egg; add remaining ingredients, continuing to beat until well mixed.  Combine thoroughly with milk and crumb mixture, and pour into buttered shallow 6-cup baking dish.  Bake in a moderate oven (350 F.) for 45 minutes, or until custard tests done (see above).  Serve hot or cold with cream.  6 to 8 servings.

So, there I was, pressing the torn-up heels of my home-made bread through my flour sifter and wondering what I’d gotten into.  I really should have done the crumb-sifting in the early afternoon, instead of in the middle of the rest of dinner prep.  But I have to admit, the results were remarkable: a light, fluffy substance that isn’t quite like anything else in my cooking experience.

After all that, I’d like to say that the results were amazing, but in fact they were only quite tasty.  I think the bread crumbs needed to be drier, I should’ve scalded the milk a little longer, and using lactose-free milk tends to make custards a bit thinner anyway.  I also think that to make it really rich the way I think of pudding, it would need to be made with cream instead of evaporated milk.  Instead it was light and custardy and chocolatey – very nice, but not something to go into raptures over.

On the other hand, I may make it again, some time when I have dry bread and the spare time.  As I said, tasty, and certainly worth the effort.

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