The proof is in the biscuit pudding
People deal with grief in different ways. Me? I eat. These past two weeks, I’ve gone through countless casseroles, half a ham, pints of homemade pimento cheese (which a very sweet woman from my grandma’s church made for my family because I had written that it was funeral food), a five-pound brisket I smoked myself (more on that later), jars of salsa, bags of chips, loaves of bread and countless cheeseburgers. My appetite has been voracious. But one of my favorite things I’ve eaten is something I hadn’t had in a long time: biscuit pudding.
When you leave unexpectedly for a trip, you don’t plan ahead. So when I went to Texas, I had fresh homemade biscuits and a new quart of milk, which by the time I returned a few days later were both nearing expiration. I hate to see things go to waste, and I most certainly didn’t want to throw away biscuits, so I decided that making them into a sweet pudding would not only make good use of them but be satisfying to eat as well.
There’s something about bread puddings that makes me feel cozy and warm. Biscuit puddings are no different. They’re easy on the mouth—each bite soft and slightly sticky. But the occasional burst of tart dried fruit, crunchy nuts and bittersweet chocolate keep things lively enough that you don’t get completely bored. I don’t make bread puddings often, but when I do it always reminds me of college when we’d eat pans of it while pretending to study for exams.
At my school one of the core classes required for all was something called Heritage of Western Culture. Yes, it was as broad and exhausting as it sounds, with three semesters devoted to learning everything from Aristotle to Zeno, with a lot of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Hegel and Newton thrown in between. When it came time to take a test, a large group of us would decamp to the local pancake house for all-night study sessions. While it was kind of a depressing place, we chose this restaurant because it was open 24 hours, had unlimited refills on coffee, few other customers, and a salad bar that offered amongst the vegetables a huge tray of bread pudding.
While the coffee was weak and the salad was wilted, the bread pudding was surprisingly phenomenal. It was cold, soft and dense, each bite spiked with pecans and raisins. We couldn’t stop eating it, and you could mark how much time had passed by how much bread pudding had been consumed. I never learned much in these group study sessions, but I always attended for the opportunity to eat bread pudding all night long.
Now if you should find yourself with days-old biscuits (though I must think that would be a rare occasion), I highly recommend turning them into a pudding. I added tart and bright dried cherries to mine, with some pecans from the farm and dark-chocolate chunks that melted into pockets of bittersweet cream. Fresh from the oven, the pudding is soft and a bit molten, but when it cools, it turns more spongy and solid; I like to eat it both ways. Some people enjoy adding whipped cream or powdered sugar on top of their biscuit pudding, but I prefer mine plain.
I don’t enjoy grieving, but it has been a kind of perverse pleasure going crazy with my appetite. I’m done with that, however, and will now return to my normal eating schedule. But I am pleased that my hunger gave me the energy and impetus to make biscuit pudding—a forgotten friend that I have enjoyed becoming reacquainted.
- 4 cups crumbled biscuits
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup chopped dried cherries
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Crumble the biscuits into a greased loaf pan, and let soak in the milk and half-and-half for fifteen minutes.
- Beat the eggs with the sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt, and stir into the milk and soft biscuits making a batter.
- Mix the cherries, nuts and chocolate into the batter.
- Bake for 1 hour, or until solid. If you insert a knife to test for doneness, it should come out mostly clean, though the melted chocolate may coat it a bit.
Sorry to read about your granddaddy.
I’m sure he’s in the kind of heavenly place where he can enjoy pan upon pan of delicious biscuit pudding!
Victoria–Thank you! My cousin is also at college in North Carolina and he has the same problem as you. And your church has breakfast tacos? Wow! Where is this?
Bee–Hey, I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Mevrouw Cupcake–Yep, that what I do sometimes.
Mike–Cascarones! I think they sell those at Fiesta. I’d forgotten about those.
Nan–I am feeling better, thank you. Kind words from dear readers such as you have helped immensely.
RecipeGirl–If you like bread pudding you’ll enjoy this as well.
Anon–Yep! I’m a Roo! When did you graduate?
Brave Sir Robin–Did you also go to Austin College?
Janna–Yea! I’m so glad y’all enjoyed it!
Linda–They do make everything better.
Annie K. Nodes–I used to have a recurring dream that heaven was a potluck supper, so I bet he’s hanging out with all my other relatives eating themselves silly!
Hey, I picked up your Edible Austin interview! I want that Luby’s book. Sounds awesome.
Hello! I just made this for my in-laws last weekend and it was a huge hit (they needed some Texan love since they live in Arkansas. Boo!). With no time to make my own biscuits, I just used Pillsbury buttermilk biscuits from a can and it was still fabulous. In fact, I am making it for my family gathering this weekend. Thanks for sharing!
I know this is an older post, but I love your recipes.
On that note, I'm currently a student at Austin College and rather glad that there isn't heritage anymore (they stopped it in my freshman year). It sounds like it had changed in current years.