Smooth vanilla, fudgy chocolate, nutty butterscotch, pistachio, rice, tapioca, hearty Indian. While so many yummy, traditional pudding flavors and recipes abound, we don’t always consider that the chilled, creamy treat isn’t just a scrumptious dessert. In fact history tells us otherwise, and turning up the volume on savory pudding recipes can make cold weather meals with family and friends extra filling.
Sweet or savory, puddings, aka custards in some realms, are known to have gotten their start in medieval times with meat-based recipes. It wasn’t uncommon to find an animal’s entrails (often the stomach), skin, and womb used to create a sausage-like pudding, bound and flavored with egg yolks, salt, pepper, suet (fat), oatmeal, and spices such as ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and mace. Bread pudding, which can be savory as well as sweet, reportedly evolved in hard times from economical cooks desiring to utilize every last morsel of bread, stale or otherwise.
Later in Britain, eventually flour, nuts and sugar–creating a thick, sweet porridge–brought the concept of pudding into the dessert realm, and among its frontrunners is the celebrated plum pudding. First referenced as Christmas pudding in an 1858 novel, contrary to its name plum pudding is devoid of fresh plums, usually made with raisins (which are of course dried grapes) and/or other fruit and spices. In fact the dessert was so pleasurable and rich, it was outlawed for a time by England-based Puritans who termed it “sinfully rich.”
Savory or sweet, these modern-day pudding recipes will add substance and sparkle to your cold weather meals, filling you up for those fall and winter outdoor outings and busy shopping days ahead.
Meatball Bread Pudding
8 ounces ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup red wine
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/3 cup half-and-half cream
8 slices day-old bread, cubed
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
Crumble ground beef into a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook and stir until evenly browned. Drain off excess fat. Stir in red wine, tomatoes, oregano, red pepper flakes, and sea salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, and half-and-half. Place the bread cubes in a 2 quart casserole dish or square baking pan. Pour in the egg mixture, and chicken stock, and stir in the ground beef mixture. The bread should be saturated. Sprinkle half of the Romano cheese over the top. Bake for 40 minutes in preheated oven until top is golden and center is set. Portion into individual bowls, and top each one with some of the remaining Romano cheese.
Rosemary Bread Pudding
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cups cubed bread
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
1 cup shredded or crumbled cheese
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup 2% milk
1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat olive oil in a cast iron pan, and cook onion and rosemary in oil until onion is soft. Toss bread cubes with olive oil and onions. Exact measurement of bread is not necessary. Place in a well oiled deep sided 9-inch square pan. Toss with 1/2 cheese, and sprinkle remaining cheese over the top. Beat together milk, cream, and eggs. Pour over bread in pan. It is fine if the bread sticks out of the custard.
Bake for 1 hour or until browned and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean (except for melted cheese).
Baked Apple Butterscotch Pudding
1 2/3 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1 1/3 cup sifted all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 cups sliced apples coated with 1/3 cup brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, combine 1 cup brown sugar, cornstarch, and 1/4 cup butter. Stir in water; cook over low heat until thickened. Pour syrup mixture into a lightly buttered 10×6-inch baking dish. In a bowl, combine sifted flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 2/3 cup brown sugar. Blend in remaining 1/4 cup butter and milk, stirring just until dampened. Stir in the sliced apples with brown sugar mixture. Pour apple batter over syrup in baking dish. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.
Easy Cottage Cheese Pudding
1 pound cottage cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 cup milk
3 egg whites
nutmeg and allspice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together cottage cheese, salt, flour, and sugar. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks; add milk and mix well, then beat into cheese mixture. Beat egg whites until stiff; fold into cheese mixture. Place mixture into baking dish and sprinkle top generously with nutmeg and allspice. Place dish in pan of water. Bake 1 hour in 350° oven.