Award-Winning Bread Pudding | Food | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Award-Winning Bread Pudding

“The winners are selected by the attendees and this was a crowd-pleaser.”

As told by Jay Poliziani, director of North Side Common Ministries

“The North Side Food Pantry is the largest community food pantry from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, and we serve between 850 and 1,000 households every month. Each year, we hold an annual event called the Food Pantry Brunch Challenge to raise awareness about limited food choices and access. Ten chefs make appetizer-sized portions using an item from the food pantry that we have in surplus. Last year, it was canned beets, and this bread pudding with beets was the winning recipe. It was made by Bidwell Training Center, a culinary-arts program in Manchester that teaches adults cooking skills so they can go into the culinary field. The winners are selected by the attendees and this was a crowd-pleaser. “


Bread Pudding

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 12 oz. cans evaporated milk
  • 1¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 loaf unsliced raisin bread, cubed

Grandma’s Harvard Beets

  • 2 15 oz. cans sliced beets, drained, juice reserved
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 4 tsp. cornstarch
  • ⅓ cup reserved beet juice
  • ¼ cup apple juice
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tbsp. orange zest


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add the milk, sugar, butter, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. Gently stir in bread cubes. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake in a water bath for 50-60 minutes. Serve warm or cold. Makes 12-16 servings. 

In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, apple juice and beet juice. Bring to a boil and cook for five minutes. Add beets to the liquid and simmer until it is a syrupy consistency, about 30 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in butter, salt, pepper and remove from heat. Serve atop the bread pudding. 

Want to volunteer with the North Side Food Pantry or attend this year’s Food Pantry Brunch Challenge in January? For more information and tickets, visit