Every New Year’s Eve I have a few friends over for dinner. Life sure is hectic around this time of year, so this year I have decided to make a simple and delicious Bread Pudding for dessert.  For those of you who have never had or made a bread pudding – pay attention. They are underrated and scrumptious! A bread pudding is simply bread of any sort (the more stale, the better!), eggs, and dairy like milk, heavy cream, half and half. Basically, it is a custard with bread in it, all baked together and served warm. It is truly yummy! Bread puddings can even be made savory with the addition of meats,vegetables and cheese and served as a light lunch or supper.

Bread puddings can be plain or tricked out. The choice of breads you can use are endless, and even the word “bread” can be taken to mean anything you wish. I have made bread puddings using leftover challah, brioche, white bread, whole wheat bread or any other type of bread, unfrosted cake, muffins, croissants, doughnuts and anything else your imagination can come up with.

The bread can be cubed or sliced into triangles or just ripped into small pieces. The bread is then placed into a greased baking dish like a casserole or baking pan that is not too deep. The custard ingredients are whisked together and poured over the bread pieces and left to sit for a bit before baking.

The most important thing about a bread pudding is to let it get soft: once you place the “bread” in a baking dish and cover it with the custard. The bread needs to soak up some of the custard so that it gets very flavorful and has almost a creamy texture to it. Some bread puddings can even be left overnight in the fridge and then baked the next day. After they are baked the custard is soft and combines with the bread giving a soft, pudding like consistency. It is very comforting, but most of all, delicious.

I like to serve my bread pudding warm topped with ice cream. This New Year’s Eve I am making a caramel, rum bread pudding topped with my home made pumpkin ice cream.

Try to make your own bread pudding, and let me know how it came out. What are your favorite ingredients to use in your puddings?

Happy Baking!

Chef Gail