I am not a typically bread pudding fan, however, I love french toast and also creating food that uses up items from my ‘well-stock’ larder. I freeze baguettes to use soups, make bread crumbs (and now bread pudding). I make up up big batches of french toast to serve (breakfast for dinner club!) and freeze for easy later meals (pop in toaster or microwave). Today’s bread pudding is slightly inspired by smittenkitchen (who isn’t!) but has less sugar, more spice, more custard and combines the ingredients I had on hand. Noteable – dry asian pear slices – o one should make these just for this recipe. Substitute chopped fresh pears, apples, raisens, dry cranberries etc. Same goes for french toast, do not make it to use in this recipe, rather make it and enjoy it, freeze some and later throw it together to make bread pudding.
Also note that it appears that I burnt the top a bit. Totally meant to do that, we like a little char in our house aaaand I should move my rack down lower. Saved me a trip under the broiler though. 🙂
Ingredients to make one 9 x 13 pan or 8-10 ramekins:
- about a pound of bread, slightly stale is ok, maybe trim off any really tough parts but I leave the crusts on, include some left over french toast or waffles as part
- 4 eggs
- 4 cups of whole milk or do 1 cup cream and 3 cup what ever % milk you have
- 1-2 cups of fruit, sliced or diced or already small
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons (give or take) pure maple syrup
- Defrost if necessary and cube bread into about 1/2 to 3/4 inch cubes. Remove any really tough parts.
- If bread is fresh, maybe toast on a cookie sheet for a few minutes in your preheated, 350 F oven.
- Prep your baking dish or dishes. Ramekins, small wide mouth jars or larger baking pans are perfect. Coat them well with butter and if so included a square of parchment paper.
- Chop, if necessary the fruit, and toss with bread in a large bowl, bag or on cookie sheet. Here there is so much flexibility in how much fruit you add, you could even just omit. Ideas: soak raisins in water or rum/orange liqeuor, dice an apple, mix in cranberries or currants, dried apricots etc etc. Recipe for my dried asian pears.
- Beat really well the eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla and spices in a mixing bowl.
- One the stove using a medium sauce heat up the milk/cream and maple syrup until warm to the touch. No need to scald for science reasons but you want to avoid burning or uneven over heating, so stir a little bit.
- Slowly add in the warmed milk mixture to the eggs, beating at the same time. Give a few scraps to mix up anything from the bottom.
- Fill baking dish with bread and fruit mixture. Then pour or ladle in the egg/milk custard mixture. Make sure everything gets coated in the custard. You could top with nuts if you like.
- Place on a cookie sheet (maybe line with foil in case any bubbling over) and bake at 350 F for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let it set on cooling rack for another 10 minutes or so to set up a bit more.
- Enjoy! Serve warm with ice cream or whip cream if you dare. If you are a Buddy the Elf fan, more maple syrup too!