puddin’ and pie


I grew up eating a lot of desserts, and Mom loved to make puddings and pies—chocolate pudding, butterscotch pudding, tapioca, rice, and bread pudding, apple pies, peach pies, and cream pies. What a lucky kid! I have many of her recipes and a few from friends as well. I published the first four in the newspaper, and I’ve added some bonus recipes here to round it all out.

pumpkin bread pudding

The idea behind bread pudding is using up leftover or stale bread, but I never seem to have much of that lying around. So I usually buy good bread like challah (when available), Arnold, or Pepperidge Farms because it is more dense and doesn’t turn to mush when blended with wet ingredients. It is also important to dry the crumbled or cubed bread on a cookie sheet in a 250-degree oven for about 45 minutes. It tastes a lot better than stale bread.

I recently read a tip to make the pumpkin less “canned” and that is to cook the pumpkin with the spices in a saucepan for a bit to blend those flavors before you add it to the recipe.


  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 16-oz can plain pumpkin (do not use fresh)
  • 6 cups dry bread cubes
  • ½ cup Xante currants or raisins (optional)
  • ½ cup chopped pecans (optional)


  1. Grease a 9×9-inch baking pan or dish. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients, ending with the raisins and nuts.
  3. Let stand 10 minutes. Spoon into prepared pan. Bake 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Let cool 10 minutes before serving, Delicious with vanilla ice cream!

radio pudding

Mom never made this one. I got the recipe from a friend many years ago. She was Canadian and said it originated there, named so because someone heard the recipe on the radio.  It is probably a wartime or postwar dish. If anyone knows the real story, write to me at the paper.

Ingredients for the pudding

  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for the sauce

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 2 cups boiling water


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9×9-inch glass baking dish.
  2. Mix pudding’s dry ingredients and slowly stir in milk and vanilla.
  3. Pour batter into baking dish and sprinkle evenly with raisins.
  4. Prepare sauce with ingredients listed, mixing well. Carefully ladle over top of batter.
  5. Put a cookie sheet in the oven before placing dish in case it boils over. Bake 30-40 minutes. Serve warm.

pineapple pudding

Never served as a dessert in our house, this is a side dish for Christmas or Easter and easily doubled if you’re feeding a crowd. It’s very rich and yummy and goes well with ham or pork especially. My oldest son always asks for it when we get together for holiday meals.


  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 20-oz can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 slices cubed, oven-dried good bread like Arnold or Pepperidge Farms
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 4 eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a glass bread loaf pan or casserole dish.
  2. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat well.
  3. Mix in pineapple, bread cubes, and vanilla.
  4. Pour mixture into dish and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  5. Bake 1 hour or till a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Kids will love this!

 helen’s streusel cream peach pie

I grew up in Philadelphia, and we had peach trees in our back yard. What a heavenly gift every year when bushels of juicy peaches landed in our kitchen. Mom would work for weeks putting up preserves and stacking peach pies in our freezer. In the dead of winter, we would enjoy the fruits of that harvest recalling warm days of summer baked into those wonderful pies. Well, with all this below-zero weather lately, I don’t think we’ll be seeing too many peach trees popping up through the sod anytime, so we’ll have to make our own memories and bake a peach pie that doesn’t require fresh fruit, but you can certainly use fresh if you have it. You can use frozen peaches, too.


  • 2 15-oz canned peaches packed in juice very well drained or 4 cups sliced fresh or frozen
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 Tbs butter, softened
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbs half & half, cream, or evaporated milk
  • 1 unbaked pie shell


  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Arrange peaches in pie shell. Sprinkle with white sugar, nutmeg, and salt.
  3. Beat egg and cream. Pour over peaches.
  4. In a medium bowl mix flour, brown sugar, and butter with your fingers till crumbly. Sprinkle over pie.
  5. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and bake till crumbs are brown and filling is set.

penny’s rice pudding

This is a classic rice pudding from a friend of my mother. A variation, if I’m feeling ambitious that is, is to separate the eggs, put the yolks into the pudding, and then beat the egg whites till stiff peaks form and fold them into the cooled pudding. It really lightens up the dish and make it seem more elegant somehow.


  • 1/2 cup rice (long-grain white is best)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 qt whole milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1  12-oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Nutmeg and/or cinnamon


  1. Place rice in water in a large saucepan with a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, stir once, reduce heat to very low, cover and cook till almost tender—about 20 minutes.
  2. While rice is cooking, mix eggs, canned milk, sugar, and 1/4 tsp salt in a bowl. When rice is done, mix in whole milk, stir well, then add egg mixture. Return to heat.
  3. Over medium high heat, cook just under a boil for 25 minutes. Add spices and raisins if desired.
  4. Cool, then refrigerate. Pudding tastes best the next day.

chocolate bread pudding

Simply delicious with a minimum of ingredients, this is so easy to make.


  • 4 cups Half & Half
  • 5-6 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 9 cups 1-inch cubed firm texture white bread
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Generous pinch of salt


  1. Prepare an 8×8 inch square baking pan by coating bottom and sides with soft butter. Heat oven to 325°.
  2. Bring Half & Half to a simmer in a heavy saucepan, then turn off heat.
  3. Place chocolate, shaved or broken into small pieces, in a large, heatproof bowl. Add 1 cup of the Half & Half and stir to melt chocolate.
  4. In a separate large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Slowly whisk in chocolate mixture.
  5. Strain through a fine strainer and skim off froth. Reserve 1/2 cup of mixture.
  6. Place bread cubes in the large bowl and pour larger amount of egg and chocolate mixture over, folding gently so cubes are not broken up.
  7. Transfer to baking dish, spreading out evenly. Pour reserved 1/2 cup of chocolate mixture over top.
  8. Bake 50 minutes or until firm to the touch. Serve warm with whipped cream or caramel sauce.

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