Extra rich bread pudding for mock French toast
Make this bread pudding up to two days in advance, chill at least overnight, then slice and cook on a griddle for French Toast, but without the mess. * See option using top grill in oven.
This is flavored with cinnamon, but one can vary the flavorings to suit your tastes. Dried fruits can be added to the mixture if desired, mixed in just before pouring into the loaf pan.
This can also be baked in a casserole – shallower glass or ceramic baking dishes do not require the water bath keeping it about an inch thick and cutting into squares. You can also use shallow individual pudding bowls placed on a baking sheet, cut the baking time down to 35 minutes and then test but remember this needs to be 1 inch or less thick to cook through on a griddle.
Extra Rich Bread Pudding
5 cups rough bread cubes (I prefer a bread like brioche or challah or Hawaiian Sweet Bread Rolls)
(Tear or cut day old bread into pieces about 1 to 1 1/2 inch cubes. Spread on a sheet pan and toast in a 300 degree oven for 12 minutes.)
8 extra large eggs
3 cups milk (Option: substitute 1/4 cup sweet sherry for 1/4 cup of the milk)
1 cup cream (or half & half)
2/3 cup sugar (or Splenda/sugar baking mix to cut calories, it works just fine)
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract.
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
(Optional – 1/4 cup cream sherry)
2 Tablespoons melted butter for brushing the top after removing from oven. This keeps the top tender and easier to slice when cold.
Spray an extra-large loaf pan with oil (or Pam) or use two regular loaf pans. You can also line the pans with parchment, which will make it even easier to lift out.
Combine eggs, milk and cream, sugar, vanilla, salt and spices in a large bowl.
Beat until eggs are completely blended.
Add the bread cubes and press down into the egg mixture with a spatula.
Cover and set aside for about 20 to 30 minutes until the bread has soaked up most of the egg mixture.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pour the mixture into the loaf pan to within 1/2 inch of the top.
Set the loaf pan into a larger baking pan and place in the oven.
Pour boiling water into the pan to about 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep.
Bake for one hour.
Test by inserting a thin knife blade into the pudding near the center.
If it comes out wet continue baking for an additional 10 minutes. Test again until knife blade comes out clean.
(It will take longer to bake in humid weather.)
Remove from oven and immediately brush top with melted butter.
This should be chilled overnight then sliced and the slices fried or grilled, using butter, and served with maple or other syrup, honey or jams and jellies.
*Or, you can place the slices on a sheet pan, sprinkle with granulated maple sugar or Demerara or turbinado sugar and run under the grill just long enough to caramelize the sugar.
This tastes exactly like French toast but is much easier for those who are not skilled in the kitchen or need to cook for a crowd and regular French toast would take too much time and effort.
This makes a great Mother’s Day or birthday breakfast for husbands who seldom cook and even for older kids who want to do something nice for Mom without a lot of mess in the kitchen on the morning of that special day.
If you don’t have a top grill in your oven, after the slices are on the griddle or in the pan, sprinkle the uncooked top sides with granulated maple sugar, you can also use regular sugar.
Turn the sugared side carefully onto the griddle. The sugar will caramelize, forming a sweet crust which, when turned again is the presentation side.
Sprinkled with granulated maple sugar.
SOURCE FOR GRANULATED MAPLE SUGAR: Welch’s Maple Sugar
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