December 3, 2017

Bread Pudding

Over the last few years, I have made different Christmas breads at Christmas time.  I've made panettone, stollen, and my great grandmother's Christmas bread.  These breads all share some commonalities: they contain dry fruit, are slightly sweet, and make a fabulous French toast.  French toast with these types of bread is tastier since there are more flavors and textures!  If you are gifted with one of these breads at Christmas (and secretly or not-so-secretly hate it), save it for bread pudding or French toast!

Bread pudding reminds me of a richer French toast, so it seemed like a no brainer to try making bread pudding with a Christmas bread.  This would make a wonderful dessert for your Christmas dinner, and it would also be divine for a Christmas brunch.  I've also made this in a cupcake pan, which makes this easy for individual servings.

You could also prep it ahead.  After pouring the custard mixture over the bread, wrap tightly and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.  The next day, sprinkle the almonds over and bake away!

This is a luscious, creamy bread pudding that will be a hit with everyone.

Bread Pudding
1 lb. bread of your choice (panettone or another bread with dry fruit recommended)
3 whole eggs
8 egg yolks
5 cups half-and-half
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. pure almond extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup sliced almonds
Butter, for greasing the dish

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and place onto a sheet pan in a single layer.  Toast the bread for about 10 minutes or so until lightly browned.

Grease a 9x12x2" baking dish with the butter.  Place the toasted bread cubes into the baking dish.

In a large bowl, whisk the whole eggs, egg yolks, half-and-half, vanilla and almond extracts, sugar, and spices.  Pour this mixture over the bread cubes in the baking dish.  Allow the dish to sit for 15 minutes for the bread to soak up the custard.  Then, scatter the sliced almonds over the top of the bread-custard mixture.

Place the baking dish into a larger pan and add hot tap water to the larger pan until the water is halfway up the side of the baking dish.  Cover the larger pan with aluminum foil and tent the foil so that it does not touch the pudding.  Poke a few holes in the foil so that steam can escape.

Bake the bread pudding for 45 minutes.  Then, uncover and bake for an additional 45 minutes or until the custard is set and the top of the pudding is light golden brown.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Source: Adapted from Ina Garten

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