Mix-and-Match Bread Pudding

What's the best way to make this beloved dessert? You decide!

Related To:

Brioche Bread Pudding with Cranberries and Pistachios.

Brioche Bread Pudding with Cranberries and Pistachios.

1: Chose Your Bread

Cut enough 1-inch cubes to equal 12 cups (remove any tough crusts) and toast on a baking sheet in a 325 ̊ F oven until just crisp but not golden, about 10 minutes.

  • Challah
  • Broiche
  • White Bread
  • Sourdough
  • Baguette
  • Croissants
  • Raisin Bread
  • Hawaiian Rolls
  • Panettone

2: Make the Custard

Whisk 4 eggs and 4 egg yolks in a large bowl with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 cup granulated sugar (or 1/2 cup each granulated sugar and brown sugar or maple syrup). Whisk in 2 cups each milk and heavy cream, then 1 or 2 ingredients from Group A and, if desired, 1 ingredient from Group B.

Group A:

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond or other extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice or pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon or orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder

Group B:

  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup bourbon, brandy or rum

3: Pick Your Mix-Ins

Place the toasted bread cubes in a large bowl and pour the custard on top. Stir in 1 or 2 of the following ingredients; use one cup of each.

  • Chopped toasted nuts
  • Dried fruit, chopped if large
  • Frozen cherries or berries, thawed and drained (chopped if large)
  • Semisweet or white chocolate chips
  • Chopped apple or pear
  • Chopped banana
  • Toasted shredded coconut
  • Mini marshmallows

4. Bake the Bread Pudding

Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Add the bread mixture and let soak 30 minutes (or up to 1 hour if using a dense bread). Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons granulated or brown sugar and bake at 325 ̊ F until puffed and golden and the custard is just set, about 1 hour. Transfer to a rack and let cool at least 30 minutes.

5. Serve the bread pudding with ice cream, whipped cream or one of these sauces.

Chocolate Sauce: Combine 6 ounces chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, until the chocolate melts. Whisk in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Jam Sauce: Combine 1 cup chunky jam, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon water and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking, until smooth and slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

Butterscotch Sauce: Combine 1 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup heavy cream, 4 tablespoons cubed butter and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer, whisking until smooth. Cook, whisking, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

Credits:

Recipe developed by Amy Stevenson for Food Network Magazine.

Photograph by Mike Garten.

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