1 quart fresh whole milk (you also may use skim milk with good results) 1-3/4 cups sugar, or to taste Pinch of salt 2-inch piece lemon peel 12 ounces of stale, good-quality bread, crusts removed (about 4 cups cubes) 4 eggs, beaten 1 teaspoon vanilla 4 ounces (about 1 cup) raisins
Makes 24 servings.
Mix milk, sugar, salt and lemon peel in a saucepan. Heat to almost boiling (sugar should be dissolved). Let mixture cool 1 hour in refrigerator. Remove and discard lemon peel.
Add bread and let it soak 30 minutes. Add eggs to mixture and stir well - you cannot overmix at this point so don't be afraid to give the bread a two-handed workout. Stir in vanilla and raisins.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Thoroughly butter a 9-by-13-inch pan or 2-quart casserole. Place bread mixture in pan, and place it in a rimmed cookie sheet or large roasting pan. Pour 1 or 2 cups hot water into the larger pan. The pudding will bake in this water bath, much like a French custard. Bake about 1 hour, until center is firm to the touch, adding water to the bath if necessary.
Nutritional information per serving: 128 calories (16 percent from fat), 2.4 g fat (1.1 g saturated, 0.7 g monounsaturated), 39.3 mg cholesterol, 3 g protein, 24.5 g carbohydrates, 0.5 g fiber, 68.4mg sodium.