A Perfect Bread Pudding Formula
I enjoy baking, but I don’t make a very good baker because I don’t like to follow directions to the letter. So, when I developed this recipe years ago, I did so with the intention of allowing for plenty of creativity. The result was a formula, simple enough to be used by cooks of all ages, into which an endless number of ingredient combinations could be plugged. I’ve used this recipe for cooking classes and created at least 20 different bread pudding flavors with it. It’s simple, fun, and delicious.
Serves roughly 12 people
• 2 cups dessert sauce (such as caramel, butterscotch, or chocolate), plus extra for drizzling
• 2 cups heavy whipping cream
• 1 tsp. extract (such as vanilla, orange, or peppermint)
• 1 tbsp. liqueur or bourbon
• 1 tsp. salt
• 6 large eggs, room temperature
• ¼ cup sugar (light brown or granulated)
• 1 regular baguette, cubed and toasted until golden brown
• 1 cup “mix-ins,” optional (such as chocolate chunks, nuts, crushed cookies, or candy)
• Non-stick cooking spray
1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
2. Bring the cream and dessert sauce to a boil on the stove in a medium-sized pot, whisking occasionally. As soon as the liquid begins to rise up, immediately remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool for about 20 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the extract, alcohol, salt, sugar, and eggs. Very slowly whisk in the cream mixture from Step 2 until combined and smooth. Add in the toasted bread cubes and toss gently to coat them. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.
4. When the bread has soaked up most of the liquid and becomes soft, add your “mix-ins.”
5. Liberally spray a baking dish or the cups of a muffin tin with cooking spray, then spoon or pour the bread pudding mixture in. Add as much of the liquid as you can and sprinkle the top(s) with leftover chocolate, nuts, or candies.
6. Bake for 30-40 minutes for a large baking dish, or until the center is set. For muffin tins, bake for roughly 25-30 minutes.
7. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes, then serve with ice cream, an extra drizzle of dessert sauce, or a sprinkle of chocolate or nuts.
• Mint Chocolate Chip: Mint extract, dark chocolate chunks, mint candies for garnish.
• Almond Caramel: Caramel sauce, almond extract, and toasted almond slices.
• Raspberry Cream Cheese: Vanilla extract, caramel sauce, fresh raspberries, cold cubes of cream cheese, and toasted pistachios.
• Chocolate Hazelnut: Whisk a small container of hazelnut spread into the heavy cream mixture instead of a dessert sauce. Mix in toasted hazelnuts.