If any of you are under the impression that bread pudding is boring, dull, and something that you do not like, let me kindly tell you that you are wrong. And I beg you to let me change your mind.
Sure, not all bread puddings are created equal and no one likes a bland soggy bowl of it. But when it’s done just right, with a crisp exterior and sponge-like custard interior, it’s magical. Bread pudding, in my opinion, is the macaroni and cheese of dessert. It’s homey, comforting, and extremely satisfying.
And also quite indulgent. This is my favorite recipe, made with homemade challah bread and flavored with almonds. It’s perfect as is, but it’s also a great jumping off point if you want to add chocolate or fruit or whatever else strikes your fancy.
A sauce is always necessary when serving bread pudding, and I love how it adds another layer of rich creaminess on top of the crisp crust of the bread. It just ties it all together into one tasty package. And since the holidays are upon us, I’ve topped this bread pudding with an eggnog sauce spiked with a little bit of brandy and almond flavoring. If you happen to have some amaretto (almond liquor) on hand, which I didn’t, it would be excellent in place of the brandy.
I can think of few desserts as perfect for serving after a holiday meal as bread pudding. It goes great with gathered loved ones, warm fires, and hot cocoa.
- 1 small loaf of bread, cubed (about 5 cups)*
- 1½ cup (12 fluid ounces) heavy cream
- ¾ cup (6 fluid ounces) whole milk
- ½ cup (115 grams) sugar
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon almond extract
- ½ cup (100 grams) sliced almonds
- Eggnog sauce for serving, recipe follows
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch baking dish with butter or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. In a small saucepan combine the heavy cream, milk and sugar. Place over medium heat and heat until bubbles appear at the edges and mixture is steaming, do not boil. Remove from heat and slowly pour into the egg yolks in a small steady stream, while whisking constantly. Add the almond extract.
- Put the cubed bread in the greased baking dish, packing it as tight as possible. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes, making sure that none of the exposed cubes are left dry. Let sit for one hour, occasionally pressing down the cubes to make sure they are all absorbing the custard.
- Sprinkle with the sliced almonds. Bake until top is golden and crisp, about 30-35 minutes. Serve warm or cold with eggnog sauce (recipe below) and more almonds.
- Store bread pudding in the fridge for up to several days.
- 1½ cup (12 fluid ounces) eggnog
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- Whisk all ingredients together in a small saucepan. Set over medium high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Boil for one minute until sauce has thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
- Serve warm or cold. Store in the fridge.
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