I am a bread pudding aficionado. If there is bread pudding on a dessert menu, I will order it without hesitation: it even trumps chocolate. Apparently bread pudding was one of those dessert staples in The New World, because there is at least one recipe in every heritage cookbook. My fiancé and I consider ourselves to be bread pudding connoisseurs – my ideal bread pudding is dense, but still fluffy, with discernable bread chunks, and a smattering of crunchy bread pieces on top. I like a hint of brandy in either the sauce or the pudding itself. Not picky at all.
I studied and compared over 15 different recipes before I settled on the recipe for the pudding and sauce below. I chose a recipe for the pudding from “American Cookery” by Amelia Simmons, the first American Cookbook. Up until Mrs. Simmons published “American Cookery” American housewives used English cookbooks, which didn’t include practical uses for the native flora and fauna of the New World. Mrs. Simmons book included “receipts”, or recipes, for this new civilization and recorded our fledgling culture for posterity.
Most of the recipes suggested that bread pudding be accompanied by a “Hard Sauce”. It is basically icing with liquor. Yum. I made the recipe from The Joy of Cooking (First Edition).
It took every ounce of will power within me not to soak the cherries in brandy before adding them to the pudding. If you are not trying to follow an heritage recipe to the letter, then I highly recommend doing this. Divine! I would then do a nice caramel sauce or a Hard Sauce made with 1 teaspoon of vanilla in place of the brandy.