Warm Bread Pudding Topped With Strawberry Compote

One of the poems I remember reading as a child is “Leisure,” by the Welsh poet W. H. Davies. “What is this life if full of care/We have no time to stand and stare?” went the opening verse.

My life is filled with no more than the average cares, or stresses, that any working woman — or man — goes through. And yet those stresses are considerable, robbing me often of the simple pleasures that I know I ought to take time to savor.

But every once in a while, I remind myself of those lines from Davies’ poem. I don’t ever want to forget them.

I am a big believer in leisure, and I try to grab at it when I can, even when it’s hard to. And I don’t mean planned leisure, like vacations, although I love those too.

Instead, I try to steal moments in my day when I can enjoy the world around me.

When I drive, I leave the cell phone in my bag. Instead, I watch the world around me go by– the people on a bus running next to me, reading or talking to each other or knitting or just looking out. People walking dogs on the streets, or jogging. Homes with neat yards and children playing out front. Seeing the world around me makes me happy, makes me feel connected in a way no newspaper or television show can.

When I walk my dogs, I try to enjoy it as much as they do (well, almost), even if I have a million things still left to do when I get back home. Because I know it means a lot to them, and they mean a lot to me. Besides, it is so rewarding to see their tails wag as they run from tree to tree trying to get a whiff of everything that happened between now and the last walk.

And then there are those moments when I indulge myself by doing absolutely nothing. Nothing at all. And although something like that can be seen as a negative in our multitasking society where even a moment is too precious to lose, let me tell you, there’s nothing as redeeming as a moment of pure self-indulgence.

So try it, if you don’t already. Take those moments in your day to enjoy what you do, without worrying about when you can get it done. Or put away that cellphone, power off the computer, and don’t even think about anything remotely stressful.

And once you’ve recharged, go into the kitchen and make yourself some of this delicious Bread Pudding Topped With Strawberry Compote. Cut yourself a generous piece, curl up on the couch, and relish every bite.

Trust me, you’ll be reborn.

Bread Pudding Topped With Strawberry Compote


8-10 slices of white whole-wheat bread. Trim off the crusts which you can use to make breadcrumbs for another time. Then cut the bread into 1/2-inch cubes. You should have about 5 cups of bread. (I love white whole-wheat because it’s more delicate than regular whole-wheat but it’s also wholegrain. So that’s like having your bread and eating it too. But if you can’t find it, use regular white bread. I’d advise against brown whole-wheat because the flavor might be a tad too strong for the pudding).

1/2 cup raisins

3 cups almond milk (use vanilla soy milk if you can’t find this)

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup sugar

6 tsp EnerG egg replacer (or corn starch), mixed with 8 tbsp water.

Whisk together the cinnamon, vanilla, sugar and egg replacer. Then whisk in the almond milk until everything’s incorporated.

In a greased square baking dish (mine’s about 9 inches square), spread out the bread evenly. Scatter the raisins on top. Now pour the almond milk mixture on top. Soak for about 30 minutes, pressing on the bread with a ladle periodically to ensure the bread gets evenly soaked.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the pudding in a water bath (a larger dish filled with about 1 inch of water).

Bake for 75-80 minutes or until puffy and golden on top.

Serve warm with strawberry compote (recipe follows), or even by itself. It’s delicious either way.

Strawberry Compote


1 pound strawberries, hulled and then cut into slices

1/4 -1/2 cup sugar (use more or less depending on the tartness of your strawberries)

1 stick cinnamon

Place the strawberries, sugar and cinnamon in a saucepan and cook on medium heat until the strawberries break down and express their juices. Continue cooking on low heat about 10 minutes.

Spoon the compote over the pudding and serve.


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  1. says

    I like to go walk without my ear stuffed with music. I listen all the sounds , car passing, bird, ,walking, splashing, etc…
    I love the topping u ve made, yummy!

  2. says

    Once in a while doing nothing feels so good Vaishali .. I don’t even read then. :-)
    Thank you, thank you for the strawberry compote … am making it right away .. a few old strawberries are waiting their doom in the fridge right now. :-)
    I assume I can use dairy milk & eggs in the pudding.

  3. says

    Enjoyed every word of the post….u sound so similar to me,well atleast when it comes to enjoying little pleasures of the world around.I just cant understand why people compare their status and happiness with the amount of materialistic things they possess or the latest models of Gadgets.DOes they really make you happy??I mean ,its ok if you have a dolby surround system for the wonderful voice quality,but are they of any use when ur mind is fumbling with the thoughts of EMI or stress at office?Well to each its own,but i totally agree with u ,tht life is to be enjoyed in little bliss,so this warm pudding surely counts in those list of teeny weeny bliss.

  4. says

    I grab sometime and get into some indulgence like watching the birds at lawn or hearing music etc ..That gives immense solace despite the hustle bustle life..
    The dessert looks fantastic..

  5. says

    A beautiful post Vaishalli… I feel just watching the sky change colors with my kids & hubby beside me is a pleasure I wouldnot trade for anything else in the world. We really should nor forget that every moment is a blessing.

    I had read somewhere that “now” is called “present” becoz it is … it is a gift.

    & wonderful recipe. I love fruit compotes. almond milk sounds great.

  6. says

    Vaishali..i was longing for pudding all these days..great to see here.

    Writer’s always watch outside world. you can start writing book’s.

  7. says

    I am posting this comment from Harini, who’s been having some trouble with blogger:

    Vaishali, I am convinced!! Aquarians have a lot in common – this reads
    so much like what I do. Only the dogs have taken place of the kids!!
    I have been thinking of a bread pudding too – Bambaiyaa Irani style,
    and you just took it off my mind and put it on paper…err…blog!!
    The strawberry compote is the only thing I hadn’t thought of:) Lovely
    lovely post. My favorite poem and my kids know it too thanks to me
    reciting it so many times. My fav. line is ‘where squirrels hide
    their nuts in grass’. The visual my mind makes up for that line is
    just so vivid and cute!!

    I too take out time for leisure every day:)

  8. says

    delicious pudding… am definitely trying this one !
    totally with you on taking time to do nothing… I like to curl up with a book and not think abt anything… works wonders for me:)

  9. says

    Bytheway,Simona from briciole.typepad.com is cohosting a “Novel food event”,presenting dishes inspired from literary work,I do believe that this would be a lovely entry! :)

  10. says

    This was among the best dessert I made for my parents wedding anniversary. It was enjoyed by my non-vegan father who loves sweets. But I was a little skeptical if he would like a vegan version.


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