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Mama’s Holiday Favorites

Bread Pudding

Contributed By Deirdre Cooper
When mulling over the topic of this month’s Chef’s Corner, which coincides with our wonderful food holidays, we started talking about recipes that we enjoyed from our Grandmothers and Mothers over the years. We thought it might be fun to feature recipes for the holidays that have been handed down through our families. My contribution was a favorite of my Mom’s. By her own admission, she was not an enthusiastic cook and certainly not a baker, but she did love to enjoy, as well as make a good Bread Pudding. This was a typical waste not, want not dessert designed to use up stale bread in a most creative, delicious and comforting way. Bread Pudding is best served warm and can be topped with whipped cream or a warm buttery sauce, brandy or rum optional.

Pumpkin Bread & Granny’s Biscuits

Contributed by Mandy Kennedy-DeCecco
Yes the holidays are here again, and I have somehow evolved into the designated “family baker”. I have inherited the favorite family recipes handed down from my Mom and Grandmother, along with the responsibility to recreate them just as everyone remembers over the years. This is an endeavor that I thoroughly enjoy. After weeks of hustle and bustle of shopping, wrapping, and preparing, I love to spend the days before Christmas holed up in the kitchen coated with flour, alternating between holiday music and bad TV, and baking up a storm.

This Pumpkin Bread recipe has long been a Kennedy family favorite. No Thanksgiving or Christmas spread was ever complete without my Mom’s pumpkin bread. I think what made it so special was that we only had at this time of year, and it was eaten up so quickly it left us all wanting more. Below is a picture of the original recipe, that I can remember my Mom using year after year. I still have it and pull it out every Thanksgiving (something about the purple ink that just brings me back!).

Another Kennedy family favorite is Granny’s biscuits. My Granny spent a good part of her life in New Orleans, and was truly the epitome of a southern lady. Despite being as she would say “fit as a fiddle,” I don’t think there was ever a dish she made without ample amounts of butter and salt. She made her biscuits on special occasions and even my health-nut father would polish off a plateful given the chance. I’ve done my best to recreate them using Granny’s recipe (pictured below in my Mom’s handwriting), and I think I’ve gotten pretty close. They are best served right from the oven, with lots of butter of course!

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Bread Pudding

2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, beaten
2 cups whole milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups cubed Italian or French bread, allowed to dry out overnight
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 stick butter, softened
Optional toppings: chopped pecans, walnuts, raisins, chopped dried fruit, semi-sweet chocolate pieces

Pumpkin Bread

2 2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup butter
4 eggs beaten
1 lb can pumpkin
2/3 cup water
3 1/3 cup sifted flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup raisins or chopped dates

Granny’s Biscuits

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 sticks butter (cold)
1/2 cup whole milk


Bread Pudding

1. Grease 13 x 9 x 2 pan and preheat oven to 350. Place dried bread in greased pan.

2.Mix sugar, eggs and milk in a bowl and add vanilla. Pour over bread and let sit for 10 minutes to absorb.

3.In another bowl, mix and crumble together brown sugar and butter. Add any toppings if desired. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over the top of the soaked bread. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until set and remove from oven.

4.For sauce: Mix together 1 cup sugar, one stick butter, melted, one egg, beaten, 2 tsp vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is melted. Add 1/4 cup brandy or rum if desired, stir well and pour over bread pudding.

Pumpkin Bread

Cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Stir in eggs, pumpkin and water. Mix well. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, salt and spices. Gradually add in dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend well. Turn batter into two greased 9 x 5 loaf pans. Bake at 350 for one hour and 15 minutes.

Granny’s Biscuits

Sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Use pastry cutter to blend in cold butter, then add milk and form into a soft dough. Roll out on floured surface to inch thickness. Use cookie cutter or small glass to cut into circles. Bake at 450 for 4-5 minutes, and finish under the broiler to reach desired color (deep golden brown).

by: Deirdre Cooper
Deirdre is a culinary enthusiast who enjoys traveling, gardening, and needless to say works wonders in the kitchen. Deirdre, a native New Yorker, now resides in Ambler, and can often be found frequently entertaining family and friends. Enjoy!
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