Friday, May 4, 2012

The Best, Simplest Bread Pudding

Yes, this really was as good as it looks. Better, even. 

I made this Challah bread (a traditional Jewish egg bread) the other day and knew I had to make bread pudding with it.  There was no question in my mind.  
Forgive the old toaster oven in the background.  But seriously, doesn't that look great?

It looks even better as a baked custard topped with a delicious sauce.  I think you'll agree with me.  It's not the traditional spiced bread pudding with raisins in it, but that appeals to me.  But, as always, you can add raisins or a tsp of cinnamon or nutmeg to spice it up. 

Because you need a one pound loaf (about five cups) of bread, I made two one pound loaves because bread is delicious and I have a problem.  If you're like me, buy/bake more bread than you'll use for your pudding.

Bread pudding requires stale bread--bread that's dry because it's been sitting out for a few days.  The dry bread will supposedly absorb more of the custard and make the pudding extra delicious.  I let my bread sit out for about four days and it was perfect. However, using fresh bread probably won't change the pudding too much--if anything, it'll impart a fresher taste into the overall pudding. 

I used Challah bread, but you can use just about any kind thick-cut bakery bread--just please, please don't use sliced sandwich bread.  Wheat or white, it doesn't matter.  Just please don't. If you do, I will die.  And you will die because your pudding will taste horrible.  It's a very serious situation.  So get some french bread from your grocery store or bake some of your own bread, if that's your thing.  Either way, it'll be delicious.

Go ahead and preheat your oven to 350.

Start by cutting some stale bread into cubes...

I have to warn you now: This pudding is not low fat.  
You might not be familiar with whole milk, so here it is.  It is beautiful and makes the pudding taste spectacular.

Soak the bread in the milk while you prepare the custard.  Set it aside.

Melt some butter in a pan...

While the butter is melting, crack a couple of eggs and an egg yolk into a bowl.  (If you turn your head to the side the eggs look really dissatisfied...)

Whisk the eggs with the vanilla...

Take the melted butter off the heat and add the sugars...Whisk it all together until it's all happy and combined.

So, because the next step is kind of complicated to take pictures of on my own, I will just have to explain how you get the eggs to look like this.  You're going to whisk the butter/sugar mixture into the eggs in tiny increments--this is called tempering, and it prevents the eggs from turning into scrambled eggs, as opposed to a smooth, delicious custard.

Pour the new mixture into the bread/milk bowl and combine.  Once the butter, sugars, eggs, and milk have time to set, they'll turn into a custard!  
*Note: If you like raisins and spices in your bread pudding, go ahead and add a half cup of raisins, a tsp of cinnamon, and a 1/2 tsp of nutmeg.

Pour it into the pan and admire it for about ten seconds. Now, the hardest part about this is letting it sit for a very long time.  I let mine sit for about 10 hours.  I prepared it in the morning, and then made it later that night.  However, I suggest that you even leave it in the fridge (covered) overnight so all of that gorgeous flavor can soak into the bread and make it extra delicious.

Once you've let it set, pop it in the oven (covered in foil) for about 40 minutes covered, and then take it out of the oven, take the foil off, and bake it uncovered for about twenty more minutes.

Now, while all of this baking oven magic is happening, you can make the icing.  Usually bread puddings call for a bourbon glaze or something like that, but I don't have any alcohol, I'm under 21, and I personally don't like how it tastes on bread pudding. So there's that.
I didn't come up with this recipe on my own--I made Pioneer Woman's cinnamon roll icing.  It's to die for, and it has a beautiful maple/coffee taste that I just love.  The coffee gives a little complexity that's perfect for bread pudding.  For this pudding, however, I replaced the maple extract with vanilla, and the results were to die for.  However, if you're not a sauce/icing person, go ahead and leave it off, because this pudding will also work without it!

Dump some powdered sugar in a bowl...

Dump in the coffee, melted butter (oh baby), pinch of salt, and vanilla extract...stir it all up...and...

And voila! The best thing that will ever happen to you!

See how luscious and perfect this is? (Please ignore my whisk--it's seen better days).

By now, the bread pudding it out of the oven! Isn't that beautiful? 
Cut yourself a piece and drown it in the frosting and you will have...

The most delicious bread pudding in the world! Simple, straightforward, and divine.  This was lekker--this was the epitome of lekker.  I can't even tell you how good this was.  Please make it soon--everyone will love you.  You will be everyone's go-to girl/guy when it comes to bread pudding, and that's a good feeling.

Lekker, lekker, lekker.
Enjoy, guys.


Now here's the recipe:

For the Pudding
5 cups stale bakery bread, cut into cubes
2 cups Whole milk
2 eggs plus one yolk
6 tbsp butter
1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp Vanilla extract
Pinch of Salt

For Pioneer Woman's Icing:
1 lb. Powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup strong coffee
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350.
Cut a 1-pound loaf of stale bakery bread into cubes (about 5 cups). Put the cubes of bread in a bowl and let it soak in the milk while you prepare the custard.
Crack 2 eggs and one additional egg yolk into a bowl, and whisk it with the vanilla extract.
Melt the butter in a sauce pan on the stove.  Once melted, remove it from the heat and add in the sugars--combine until it's smooth. Add a tiny pinch of salt at this point.
Slowly temper the butter/sugar mixture into the eggs until it's combined and lovely.  Add this custard mixture to the bread/milk mixture and coat the bread evenly.  Let sit over night or for 24 hours.
Pour the pudding into a small casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.  Remove the foil, then continue to bake in the oven for an additional 20 minutes so it browns on top.
While the pudding is in the oven, make the icing.  Combine the powdered sugar, vanilla, milk, butter, coffee and salt until smooth.  So easy.
Once the bread pudding is out of the oven, cut a big slice and cover it in icing.  Eat two more slices.  Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. I have never been the biggest bread pudding fan but this sounds amazing! And the bread looks delicious just on its own!!