Homemade Bread Pudding

Today was my graduation day… and to celebrate, I made bread pudding! I did so because I had a loaf of very chewy no-knead bread (it didn’t rise well because it’s wintertime, and the radiators in our old 1900’s apartment building aren’t always on) and the loaf was too hard to eat by itself. So… why not tear it up, bake it into a mixture of sugar, butter and eggs, and top off the final product with a tasty brandy sauce?!

It turned out pretty good! It’s based off of this recipe… some photos are below!

Step 1: Butter a pan! (I did an 8×8 inch pan, even though the recipe calls for 9×13.)

Step 2: Make the “batter” your bread will soak in while it bakes. Mix sugar, eggs, vanilla, and milk in a medium-sized mixing bowl:

Step 3: Pour this mixture over ~3 cups of chunks of bread. (In this case, it was a chewy, crusty homemade loaf of bread.)

The unbaked bread pudding should look like this:

(To be honest, I put more bread pieces in after I took this picture — the baking dish was stuffed with bread when I put it into the oven. I had to crack into another loaf to fill it in a bit more.)

Next, make the butter + brown sugar topping for your pre-baked pudding. This will add a sweet crust to the top of your pudding once it’s done:


(1/2 cup brown sugar + 1/2 stick butter…)

Drizzle this simple mixture on the top:

Now, pop it in the oven for 35-45 minutes, or until it gets nice, brown and crispy, and all the batter has baked through the bread.

While you wait, you can make bourbon sauce to lightly garnish it after it’s out of the oven.

If you don’t know already, this recipe is pretty butter-heavy: for the sauce, you have to put one stick of butter and one cup of sugar together in a small saucepan, and simmer…

… and then add a splash (1/4 cup) of brandy!  But wait… what if you don’t have brandy?

I think it would taste fine without it — although the alcohol adds a little bit of a kick and definitely adds some complexity to the dessert sauce. I did have a little bit of cognac (which has been sitting in my cupboard for what seems like forever) so I just went ahead and used that. It came out just as delicious as the brandy sauce I made last time.

Okay! The bread pudding is ready when it is nice, brown, and crispy on the top, and the pudding along the edges of the baking dish are starting to… well… look like pudding.

Bread pudding isn’t supposed to look particularly elegant… its rich, crispy sweetness are what it’s all about. Here is the bread pudding after being pulled from the oven — nice and crispy!

Below is a little bit served in a bowl… drizzled with just a little bit of the sauce on top (you don’t need a lot). The chunks, which are nicely sized, are moist and sweet. The edges of each piece are chewy and crispy. This bread pudding is pretty rich, so just a few bites can feel satisfying. Its qualities make this dessert perfect for a cold, winter day… or even a holiday party. The total prep time was about 25 minutes, and the recipe isn’t very complicated at all. If you are a fan of bread pudding, go ahead and try it out… see how easy it is to make!

Hopefully I can find somebody to share it with so I don’t have to eat all of the bread pudding myself!

Happy December! Cheers to Winter Weather and Winter Food! Enjoy!

Recipe:


Ingredients

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large beaten eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cubed Italian bread, allow to stale overnight in a bowl
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brandy

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan.

Mix together granulated sugar, eggs, and milk in a bowl; add vanilla. Pour over cubed bread and let sit for 10 minutes.

In another bowl, mix and crumble together brown sugar, butter, and pecans.

Pour bread mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over the top and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven.

For the sauce:

Mix together the granulated sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir together until the sugar is melted. Add the brandy, stirring well. Pour over bread pudding. Serve warm or cold.

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