Pudding on the Ritz
Your Burque bread pudding primer
By Gail Guengerich
The Drunkard: The drunkard is a ne’er-do-well pudding soaked in or slathered with whisky, rum or other liquors. If bread pudding is nothing but a custardy sponge, why wouldn't you pour booze all over it?
But still, bread pudding could star in its own Vanity Fair-esque novel. It would begin sometime in the 1200s in Europe as “poor man’s pudding,” a sorry little Dickensian dessert of upcycled stale bread and crusts, and end in modern times with pomp and circumstance on a platter soaked in caramel or vanilla sauce at often twice the cost of a loaf of bread.
Yes, bread pudding is now a luxe hybrid of snooty dessert and comfort food, both stately and stout like a fat corporal in evening wear. I don’t know any dessert quite like it.
I have identified three distinct classes of bread pudding with which you should become acquainted.
There are of course subclasses of each of these—the Limey, the Seminarian, the Spanish Strumpet. Explore them all. The story of bread pudding is the story of all of our cultural achievements. All great things come from humble origins.
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