Artisan Bread Pudding
I love Bread Pudding, plain and simple. It’s not fancy-schmancy, it’s not delicate, and it’s certainly not for those people that say “I’ll just have a bite”. (Who ARE those people…and who invited them?)
To me, a good Bread Pudding is a bit heavy, with a nice crispy top, and you can really taste the vanilla in the custard. It’s one of those desserts that’s so rustic that it just makes you feel like you’re at someone’s house. Someone southern, wearing an apron, who’s completely hospitable and keeps sayin’ “Bless your heart”.
Ya’ll just hold on while I go put on my country music.
This dish is sometimes the reason why I buy “too much bread” at the market. You know, you’re going to make a pot of soup, or roast a chicken… and so you’ll want a nice, heavy loaf from the bakery to dip into the broth. But somehow, there’s suspiciously too much bread (especially if you buy two… but who’s counting?). So I’ll wait a couple days, cut it up, and put it in a pan with a few simple ingredients…. and an hour later, I’ve got a perfectly delicious dessert. Which, of course can also be served the next morning with breakfast.
Wait a minute… did you say “Breakfast”?
Yes. I did. After all… there’s eggs…and milk….and wheat….
For this particular dish, I used a nice semi-heavy, rectangular Artisan Bread from Whole Foods. It was 2 days after purchase, so it was just starting to dry out. You want to make sure your bread is semi-dry or better, so it soaks in all the good custard 😉
Artisan Bread Pudding
1 loaf Artisan Bread, about 12oz.
4 c. milk
1 c. sugar
4 Tbsp. butter
½ tsp. pink salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla
Nutmeg & Cinnamon & more Sugar
Preheat oven to 350°.
Cut up bread and put into an ungreased 11″ x 16″ glass pyrex dish.
In a large saucepan, stir the milk, sugar, butter and salt over medium heat until the butter is melted. Turn off heat.
Meanwhile, in another bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla together.
Gradually add a few tablespoons of the hot mixture to the eggs while whisking.
Once you’ve mixed in at least 3-4 tablespoons’ worth, add all of the egg mixture to the hot saucepan while stirring, and continue to stir until it’s fully incorporated.
Pour the liquid over the bread.
Then, take a large spoon, and use the back of it to press down the bread into the mixture, so it soaks up as much as it can.
Sprinkle nutmeg and cinnamon over the top. Use as much or as little as you’d like.
I prefer about 2 tsp. of each or more.
Then sprinkle a little more sugar over the top of everything.
I use maybe 1 Tbsp. This will give it a little extra crunch.
At this point, turn on the kitchen faucet to hot. You’re going to want water that’s really hot for the next step.
Place the pan inside another, larger pan. I have found that using a ½ sheet pan works really well. Place pans in oven.
Using a large spouted measuring cup, pour hot water into the outer pan until it reaches about 1 inch up the side of the clear pan. The reason you do this, is to steam the pudding.
Bake the pudding about an hour till the tops are crispy and golden, and make sure that a toothpick inserted in the center of the custard comes out clean.
The pudding should sit for about 15 – 30 minutes or so before you cut into it. If you want to wait a couple hours, that’s fine too. I don’t even use a knife – a plain old metal spatula does the trick. The best part is that it won’t stick to your glass pan, so clean-up will be easy. Yay for that!
Now all you’ll need to do is sift a little powdered sugar over the top and serve.
Unless, of course, it’s breakfast… then you can throw a few slices of bacon next to it and call it a meal 😉
Here’s a little southern treat for you, thinking of my sweet friend Sandy
who loves this song as much as I do. Click to play “I Miss Mayberry” =0)
While you’re listening…I’d love to hear what your favorite bread is, for bread puddings.
Also, do you add anything else, like raisins or currants?
Are you a fan of sauce over the top?