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VPR Cafe: Turning Christmas Breakfast Into A Treasured Family Tradition

Candace Page
Many families have special breakfast traditions on Christmas morning. If you're looking to start a tradition, Candace Page suggests maple cranberry bread pudding.

Everyone has their own unique way to celebrate the holiday season. One commonality is the opportunity to gather with family around the table. Breakfast on Christmas Day is a popular time for families to share that special meal.

“I think these traditions can become more important in families as the kids grow and there’s less of that mad dash to the Christmas tree,” said Candace Page, a contributor to the Savorvore Section of the Burlington Free Press.  “It’s my favorite time in the kitchen with my mother and sister. We all cook together without having the chaos of Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.”

Page says her family always has local eggs, cheese and bacon on Christmas morning, plus a few special dishes: her Swedish grandmother’s cinnamon buns and a Finish bread called pulla and scrapple. 

If you’re looking to start a Christmas breakfast tradition, Page suggests her Cranberry Maple Toasted Bread Pudding, and the Inn at Manchester Cottage Cakes.

Cranberry Maple Toasted Bread Pudding*

(Serves 6 to 8, depending on what else is for breakfast!)

8 slices good white bread?

1½  cups milk?

5 tablespoons butter?

4 eggs?

½ cup maple syrup

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

big?pinch of salt?

2 generous cups of cranberries, roughly chopped

Heavy cream for serving

1. Toast the bread; no need to remove the crusts. Cut the toast into small cubes and place in a bowl.

2. Heat the milk with 4 tablespoons of the butter and pour over the bread cubes. Use the remaining butter to coat a shallow, 2-quart baking dish. ?

?3. After the toast has soaked for 10 minutes, beat together the eggs, maple syrup, ½ cup sugar and salt. Stir in the cranberries and the bread.

4. Pour into the buttered casserole, sprinkle remaining sugar on top and bake for 40 minutes in a preheated 325-degree oven. ?Serve warm with heavy cream (it’s Christmas, after all).

?*Original recipe, using rhubarb, from the L.L. Bean Book of New New England Cookery, by Judith and Evan Jones, Random House, 1989

Inn at Manchester Cottage Cakes

Cottage cakes have long been an Inn at Manchester specialty and remain a favorite with guests.  They’re easy to make and oh so good.

(Makes approximately 6 five-inch cakes.)

1 cup cottage cheese?

4 eggs, beaten

?4 tablespoons melted butter?

½  cup flour

1. Whisk together the first three ingredients.

2. Fold in the flour.

3. Bake on a pancake griddle using medium-high heat.

4. Serve with Vermont maple syrup and warm apricot jelly.

The VPR Café is made possible by Otter Creek Kitchenwarein downtown Middlebury, offering over 70 lines of kitchenware.   

Ric was a producer for Vermont Edition and host of the VPR Cafe.
Liam is Vermont Public’s public safety reporter, focusing on law enforcement, courts and the prison system.
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