Bread pudding is a pretty simple dessert and oh, so comforting especially on a cold night. Best served warm about 15 minutes after removing from the oven. Serve with some bourbon sauce (see below) or vanilla ice cream. Heat leftovers in foil in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Don’t microwave as it tends to toughen bread.
Oven Temp: 350 degrees F. (DO NOT PREHEAT OVEN)
Cooking Time: 50 minutes to 1 hour or more
Serves: 6 (Double recipe to serve 12 and use a 9 by 13 baking dish)
Tools: large mixing bowl, 2-1/2 to 3 quart baking dish
- 6 cups bread pieces about an inch squarish (see below)
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 stick melted butter
- 2 beaten eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup chopped or broken pecans or walnuts (Don't use nuts that are chopped too small - you want to see them and taste them.)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1//4 teaspoon nutmeg
- (option) 1 cup, 1/2 inch diced appleTHE BREAD: I like to use a bread that has some body - not ordinary white bread. You can use ordinary white bread and many do, but a heartier bread, I think, makes a better pudding. I typically use a French baguette or a some type of ciabatta loaf. Challah bread and brioche (an eggy bread) are also common breads used for a bread pudding and they work well, too. If you can find a whole grain or whole wheat baguette that would be a slightly healthier substitution. I have even seen some recipes that use stale croissants. Never tried it – could be interesting.The bread typically is day old bread. This comes from the days when you bought your bread fresh for use that day - like they still do in European countries. By the next day the bread was getting hard. Old bread is not the same as bread that has been dried out. I saw a complete scientific explanation of this on America’s Test Kitchen. You want bread that has been dried out in an oven not set out on the counter overnight. It makes a better pudding.Many recipes tell you to cut the bread in 1 inch cubes. I find this makes for a more dense pudding. I recommend tearing the bread in pieces about 1 inch. Irregular pieces will not mash down as easily and this creates an airier and lighter pudding.DIRECTIONS:
So, start tearing up your bread and put the pieces in a measuring cup. Empty the pieces onto a baking sheet pan until you have 6 cups of pieces. Spread them out evenly. Put them in a 225 degree oven. In about 30 minutes or so they will be nicely dried out. Drying time will depend on the type of bread you use.
In a large bowl mix all the other ingredients together. (Don’t add hot melted butter to the eggs or it will scramble them. Add the butter after you have added the milk. (You can mix all of these ingredients ahead of time and refrigerate - just let it come to room temperature before mixing with bread.)Place the dried bread in a buttered 9" by 9" baking dish or an equivalent oval or round baking dish. Pour the liquid over the bread. The liquid should almost come to the top of the bread, if not, add some additional milk.Let it sit about 20 minutes so the bread absorbs the mixture. If you can, weight it down a little so the bread submerges in the liquid. You can put a plate with something heavy on top.
Place the dish oven on the middle oven rack, then turn the oven on to 350 degrees F.When it has risen and the top is golden, its done. It may take a little longer than the time given above. It depends how wet it is.
BOURBON SAUCE (or use rum)
- 1/2 stick softened butter
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 cup bourbonCream the soft butter (not melted) and sugar together. Add the egg yolk and mix. Pour it into a small saucepan and add bourbon. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Let simmer for about 3 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
It will thicken a little as it cools. Add 1 or 2 Tablespoons of bourbon right before serving. Sauce should be warm and poured over the warm bread pudding.