A few years ago, back when I was obsessed with England even more than I am now, which is a lot, I attempted to make bread pudding and it failed miserably. It was disgusting. But then we made it in class this quarter, seen here, and that experience gave me the confidence to try it again. I have made it twice now and I can report that this recipe is a winner and the results are beyond amazing.
The balance of gooey custard bottom and the crispy bread on top is perfect. Originally a poor man’s food, it doesn’t get much simpler than this. But don’t be fooled by it’s simplicity, it just proves that you don’t have to spend big bucks or slave away for hours in the kitchen to create something rich and delicious.
Another great thing about bread pudding is that you can add almost anything to it for various themes and flavors. The bread pudding I made a few weeks ago was an Almond Bread Pudding, which I served with an Amaretto (almond liqueur) Sauce. To achieve this, all I did was add almond extract to the baked custard and sprinkle the top with almonds.
I loved it so much I made another batch yesterday for Steve’s family Christmas party. This time I decided to make it an Eggnog Bread Pudding with Cranberries and White Chocolate Chips, topped with caramel sauce and whipped cream. It was so good and I’ve been dreaming about the leftovers in my fridge all day.
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
6 egg yolks
6 oz sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean, or other flavorings
1 loaf bread cut into 1 inch pieces (enough to fill a 9×11 inch pan)
Mix cream, milk, half of the sugar in a saucepan over medium high heat. Scald the mixture (look for tiny bubbles to form on edge of the surface), but do not bring to a boil. Meanwhile whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. The sugar will start cooking the eggs, so do this just before the milk reaches scalding. Slowly temper the milk mixture into the egg mixture by adding a ladle at a time while whisking continuously, until it is all combined. Add vanilla or other flavorings you are using.
Pour custard into a baking dish prepared with pieces of bread. If you are adding things like cranberries or chocolate chips, have these ready in the dish along with bread. Make sure to pour the custard over the whole thing so that all the bread has been drenched, although it will not all be covered. Add any other toppings you desire.
Soak for at least 30 minutes or even overnight. Bake at 325 degrees for about an hour or until the center is set. Cool completely before cutting into as this helps the custard set. Eat warm or cold. To reheat, warm for 30 minutes at 300 degrees. Store leftovers in the fridge.