It's said that "Necessity is the Mother of Invention," and that's how my version of bread pudding was created. I had never made one prior to having guests for dinner that requested a bread pudding for dessert. "No problem!", I thought, "How hard can it be to make?" I chose a classic Betty Crocker recipe, made it, served it, and couldn't eat more than a spoonful! My guests had no problem with it but for me, it was boring, mediocre and didn't hold my interest. Because my family refuses to eat raisins and I was so sorely disappointed in the original recipe, I spent a week with my cookbooks, pouring over them and taking notes from various recipes. I ultimately decided to treat each aspect of the bread pudding as a single unit: if I'd love to eat the custard, alone, than it was a winner. Same went for the bread: if it was such a great bread that I could eat it plain, then it had to be included. And since raisins were out, I decided to use mixed berries as a contrast against the custardy bread filling. And what came out of the oven was a winner! Because the pudding is so creamy and slightly sweet, the sharp tang of the berries just zipped right through the sweetness and burst onto your tongue, making you almost draw in your breath from the delicious contrast. Then, add the orange-flavoured whipped cream, which added another layer of distinct flavour to it, and it was a HIT...in our home! Is this the most economical bread pudding, using scraps of this and that? No. Is this the simplest of bread pudding recipes to create, dumping stale bread and milk together, toss in an egg or two, a handful of raisins and into the oven? No, again. But, this IS a bread pudding that will make you proud to serve it at your table. It's a bread pudding that treated each element with the respect that it deserved, creating a quality dessert. So, if you want a slightly more upscale version of a bread pudding that is sure to wow your family, please try my version, that will become our standard from now on. And yes!, the temperature is correct: it's 335 degrees; I split the difference between 325 for custard and 350 for cake. This way, the bread browns nicely but the custard doesn't overbake. Enjoy!
- 2 cups frozen berries, mixed (I used 1/2 cup each of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and black raspberries. Using frozen fr)
- 6 cups bread (I used Hawaiian Brand bread dinner rolls (6 cups of torn rolls, 1-inch x 1-inch. My rolls were 2.5-i)
Ingredients for custard
- 2 cups milk (I use 2% milk. I've tried it with Half & Half and whipping cream and they are too heavy for this des)
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks (freeze the 2 egg whites for frosting or angel food cake)
- 1⁄3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1⁄4 teaspoon almond extract (do NOT go overboard with the almond, a little goes a long way!)
- 1 pinch salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Ingredients for the whipped cream topping
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
- 3 -4 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted free of lumps
- 1⁄4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1⁄16 teaspoon boyajia orange oil (I have measureing spoons that are labeled "pinch, dash and smidgeon". The smidgeon one is 1/32 tsp. )
- NOTE: I have found that people tend to fight over the browned top crust of bread pudding so I solved that problem by baking mine in a 10" round x 4" deep Pyrex casserole, ensuring everyone of receiving a large portion of browned pudding with enough soft pudding underneath. This meant that I had to use a 17" x 13" x 2" deep broiler pan for the Bain Marie or water bath. If you choose to use a different size baking dish, results may vary, such as a longer baking time. My bread pudding ended up being 2.5" deep.
- Directions for bread pudding:.
- Preheat oven to 335 degrees. Fill tea kettle with enough water to fill a 13" x 17" pan, half way up with boiling water. Bring water to boil, then turn down heat to a simmer, for later use. Butter the casserole dish; set aside.
- Place the 2 cups of milk in a large saucepan, uncovered, over medium heat. Let the milk heat in the pan, without stirring, until a skin forms on top and it is scalded. Or, if this makes you uneasy, stir the milk and continue heating until small bubbles form along the edges of the pan. Remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, place the eggs and yolks in a large mixing container with a pouring spout. Beat or whisk briefly, only to mix, not until they are foamy or light. (This beats too much air into the custard)
- Gradually add the sugar, vanilla and almond extracts, ground cinnamon, ground ginger and salt, beating only until well mixed.
- Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, slowly add 1/4 cup amounts of the hot milk to the egg mixture, stirring gently. When 1 cup of warm milk has been added into the egg mixture, add the remaining milk and stir gently. This process is called "tempering", making sure that your eggs don't "scramble" in the pan from the heat of the milk! Set aside custard mixture.
- In a large bowl, tear the Hawaiian rolls apart into large chunks, totaling 6 cups. Using a large mesh strainer, pour your custard mixture slowly over the bread roll cubes. (Straining the custard catches any lumpy egg whites.) Stir very gently, making sure that the bread rolls are all thoroughly coated. Allow to rest in the bowl for 10 minutes. Stir twice.
- While the bread is soaking up the custard, measure out your frozen berries. I'm lucky enough to have a deep freezer so I have individual bags of the berries, but a quality brand of mixed berries with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and black raspberries can be used. They should NOT be mashed!
- Gently fold the 2 cups of mixed frozen berries into the custard/bread mixture. Pour this into the prepared casserole dish, using a spoon to make sure that the berries are well distributed and that the raspberries are pushed down into the custard, to fill their little centers.
- Place the casserole dish into the broiler pan and place this into the oven, leaving the oven door open. Carefully pour the hot, boiling water into the pan, going up to 1/2 the height of the casserole. NOTE: PLEASE BE CAREFUL! I have a long-necked tea kettle so there is no risk of burning myself. However, if you feel more comfortable filling the broiler pan with the hot water prior to placing it into the oven, do what makes sense for YOU!
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until a sharp knife inserted 1 inch into the middle of the custard comes out clean. Carefully remove the broiler pan and place on a heat-proof surface. Lift the casserole out of the water, place it on a wire rack and cool for 1 hour or until a comfortable eating temperature. Allow water in broiler pan to cool, dump out when safe to the touch.
- Serve warm, cool, cold. Plain or with topping of choice. Just enjoy it, however you please!
- Directions for Orange Whipped Cream:.
- Have ALL of your ingredients and equipment ice cold! I store the beaters in the bowl in my frig and have a small dish of the sifted powdered sugar in there, too. (Sifting the powdered sugar after you've measured it eliminates nasty sugar lumps!)
- Remove bowl, beaters, whipping cream and powdered sugar from the refrigerator. Insert beaters into machine, shake whipping cream multiple times to integrate the butter fat; pour into the bowl.
- Starting out at the lowest speed, beat whipping cream until it slightly thickens. Starting out at a lower speed prevents splashing all over.
- Once cream begins to thicken, increase speed to medium high and whip until soft peaks begin to form. Increase speed to high and slowly add the powdered sugar to the whipped cream, being sure to reach all corners of the bowl if doing this with a hand mixer.
- When firm peaks have formed, add vanilla extract and 2-3 drops of orange oil (or orange zest) and blend only until combined, about 10 seconds.
- Serve a dollop of this on top of the still warm Very Berry Bread Pudding. The whipped cream is also good in your coffee, with a dash of cinnamon!
I thought that I'd be the 1st one to write a review but someone beat me to it. LOL This is just the best bread pudding that my family and I have ever eaten! All of my sisters make their own type of this dish but I've always hated it because it was dry and had raisins in it and I hate raisins. But this is moist and dense, not too sweet, the berries in it are just the thing to make it different from everybody else's pudding. We made this and ate it all in 24 hours and now my husband is begging me for more which says alot about a recipe. I also appreciate the very detailed instructions because I don't bake a lot and didn't know all the things you wrote about. I'm so glad I was following your thread and found out about this dessert because now I can beat my sisters with this bread pudding.
Oh goodness this is a lovely dessert! I was looking for something different for Oscar Nite and THIS IS IT! Wonderful recipe and I appreciate all the special instructions. This is going to my "Favorites cookbook" immediately! Thanks so much for sharing.