I love bread pudding. There’s nothing quite like it. Especially when there’s chocolate involved.
Today I found myself with a loaf of 2-day old pugliese Italian bread that we really had no use for. I’ve only ever used soft breads for bread pudding, you know, brioche, that light fluffy white Italian bread from the grocery store bakery section, croissants, etc. Recipes always called for that kind of bread and some of them even said things like “cut the crust off.” So it comes as no surprise that I was always scared to try making bread pudding with a more rustic, crusty bread. And that fear has been the waste of several decent loaves of stale bread because….
That crusty, rustic pugliese worked GREAT in bread pudding. That’s right, I took the plunge. And the water felt good, people. Don’t be scared, use that crusty bread!
I did slice off the pointy crusty top from the loaf, and, after I cut the bread into 1″ – 2″ slices, I cut the bottom crust off each piece. The rest of the crust I left on. I liked having varying textures in the pudding, and the crusty parts absorbed the custard and cooked beautifully.
I am so glad I experimented with that bread today. Because, turns out, chocolatey bread pudding makes a mighty tasty lunch. Nutritious, too.
- 3 eggs
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon (more if you use raisins or fruit as the mix-in)
- 4 tablespoon butter, melted
- 3 cup milk
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 16 ounce loaf of white bread (brioche, Italian, whatever you have on hand)
- Chocolate (chips or chopped) OR raisins, optional. If you don’t add anything at this point, it will be delicious topped with fresh fruit upon serving.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place a tea towel or cloth flatly in a 9″ x 13″ baking pan. Butter an 8″ x 8″ baking dish (I actually forgot to butter the dish, and everything was fine). Get a bunch of hot water ready for when the pudding is ready for the oven (I just filled my tea kettle and turned the heat on so it would be hot when I was ready for it).
- Cut off the ends of the bread and slice the bread into 1″ – 3″ cubes – no need to be exact. Cut off any particularly thick or crusty pieces of crust. Place bread pieces in the 8″ x 8″ dish, being sure not to overcrowd.
- If you are adding a raisins or chocolate, do so now just by sprinkling over the bread.
- Beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt with a hand mixer or in your stand mixer until it’s that pretty light yellow color. Stir in the milk and butter then pour the mixture over the bread. Dunk the pieces of bread down into the egg mixture with your fingers so all the pieces have been soaked. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Place dish in the prepared 9″ x 13″ pan, laying 8″ x 8″ pan on top of the cloth. Place both pans in the oven. Pour hot water into the 9″ x 13″ pan until the level is about halfway up the side of the 8″ x 8″ dish.
- Bake around an hour. Mine was done at exactly 65 minutes. You can tell it’s done when you poke around in the middle and the custard is mostly set. There may be a little bit of liquid left, but not a lot.
- Serve cold or warm, with whipped cream or not. I love it a few minutes after baking because the tops are still crispy. YUM! Keeps in the fridge for several days.