Perdus et Trouvés

I believe every culture that eats bread has a recipe for bread pudding. It is one of those “waste not, want not” dishes that are a hallmark of economically challenged cooks the world over. The transformation of the staff of life into a  sweet delight is alchemy at its best.

My family ate a lot of bread. Between paydays, it was the main part of the meal. Our preference was the feather light “Silvercup” white bread produced by a nearby bakery, the tantalizing smell of which wafted through the entire neighborhood. On better days, my grandmother would bake her own hearty loafs using unbleached flour. She saved the discards of both versions in a pot for several days until it was dry. On the magic day (often a Sunday), she would enlist my help to crumble her stash.

The French refer to bread pudding as “pain perdue” which means “lost bread.” It is made with the crumbles of stale baguettes. Mexicans eat “Capirotada,” a Lenten treat that is enriched with nuts and cheese.  Egyptians augment theirs with pistachios, coconut and dried apricots. In my version, I tend to use bread made from flours like oat, potato or healthnut mixtures.

However you decide to make it,  there will be no doubt that whatever is lost can always be found.

BTW: I chose this dish at the request of a dear friend who misses his mama…. SC2 this is for you!



6 cups bread, stale, broken into small pieces
1 ½ cups natural sugar
1 cup raisins
1 cup milk
1 cup evaporated milk
4 eggs
1 tbs ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbs butter for dots, plus enough to grease baking pan
Sweetened condensed milk, to taste


Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix milks, eggs and seasonings in a smaller bowl. Mix the two together. Transfer into a buttered 8×8 Pyrex baking pan. Dot with butter and bake @ 350° for about 45 minutes – until top is nicely browned and inside in congealed into custard. Top with warm condensed milk before serving.


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