My earliest memories of my grandma included a cast iron skillet full of gravy that was waiting to cascade over fresh buttermilk biscuits and an old coffee can full of bacon grease.
This is how you did it “back then” – you saved every last morsel to use and reuse until you couldn’t use it anymore.
My grandma is a Dust Bowl baby. She learned how to make ends meet with a nickel and some sweat. And in high school, she met the love of her life.
The story of my grandparents is a sweet one, full of love letters, family, heartbreak, loss, and undying love.
Through it all, a single cast iron skillet and coffee can still remain.
You see, a cast iron skillet is not like the cheap nonstick one you picked up for $5 when you were in college. It doesn’t just last for a year and then get tossed and replaced. A cast iron skillet is like my grandparents’ relationship – if cared for, treated well, and loved, it will last a lifetime.
Insert audience collectively saying, “awwwww…”
I could go into a whole soliloquy about how to treat a cast iron pan, but there are three thousand other bloggers who’ve already beat me to the punch. I’m not about wasting my breath, either. What I will tell you is that I never understood it until I owned one for myself.
Cast iron is really the best thing ever. It can be used to fry an egg, bake a pie, or even roast a bird.
My first pan sat on the shelf for almost a month before I seasoned and used it. But when I was finally ready, I decided to go balls to the wall and make bread pudding.
Because bread pudding is rustic. And cast iron is rustic. And I like rustic things.
I sat by the pool just a week ago, dreaming of this dish. Cherries are in season here, and I love cherries in my summer dishes. And what goes best with cherries? I mean, besides everything? Spices. Oodles of glorious spices!
Thus, Cherry Chai Pecan Skillet Bread Pudding was born. This monster will feed a crowd, so just be warned. I suggest taking it for a pot luck or a church banquet.
Just don’t let anyone cart off your baby – it’s worth all the gold in the world.
- 1 loaf Archer Farms (Target) French Toast Bread
- 2 tbsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Ground Cardamom
- 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1 tsp Allspice
- 1 quart Whipping Cream
- 3 eggs
- 1 12 oz bag Frozen Cherries
- 1 cup Whole Pecans (you can use chopped if that's what you have on hand)
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Cube bread and lay out in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, add eggs and whisk. Add whipping cream and spices, then stir to combine.
- Grease a cast iron skillet. Add a layer of bread, then a layer of frozen cherries, then a layer of bread, and so on until all the bread and cherries have been used. Sprinkle pecans over the top.
- Carefully pour the liquid over the bread and push down with your hands to help the bread absorb the liquid.
- Place skillet on a cookie sheet (in case of spillage) and then loosely tent with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 45 minutes covered. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the top is golden brown.