Bread Pudding for the Holidays

The holidays are almost here, but our traditional plans may not be the same as in past years. Whether we are forging ahead and meeting our families as per usual or have decided on a smaller gathering ; this is the best time to make some foods which are both tasty as well as comforting. Don’t worry too much about the carbs or the calories; just enjoy the holidays in any way you can and try to forget the pandemic which has dominated our lives this year. Make yourself and those with you a special treat!!

There has been a definite increase in people cooking for themselves this year. Whether out of necessity or curiosity, so many have learned that home cooking is a good thing and not that daunting a task. Working from home has afforded many people the time to try recipes which they have been wanting to do for a long time and the foods often associated with home and family have come to the forefront of our minds once again. In times such as these, especially when we are unable to visit family members, our level of nostalgia tends to be quite heightened. Unlike most years, large family gatherings and the traditional meetings are being cancelled for safety reasons as we are now advised to gather in small groups. However, all is not lost as you can still make a delicious meal albeit in smaller proportions at home, even if you do not have the luxury of being with all of our family members. Making a tasty meal is a good way to bring some cheer. You can raise the positivity level, especially if you add a few comfort food items to your menu.

Comfort foods are ones which are meant envelop us in a warm blanket of happy emotions. Often they are simple homey recipes, but they are usually dishes which are made with special homemade touches and with much love. As Thanksgiving is around the corner and Christmas is next month, this is the perfect homestyle dessert which is pleasing, comforting, easy and always welcome. Good as a dessert or a brunch dish; Bread pudding uses day old bread, soaked  in a custard to create a beautiful oven baked pudding. My recipe is a hybrid of a traditional bread pudding and a flan, so it’s perfection in every bite. The crust is golden and slightly crisp, while the pudding is luscious and tender under the crust lending perfectly to a mixture of textures. While you bake the bread pudding, the aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg permeate the house creating an irresistible urge to delve into the dish can once it is done. I have added cranberries for the season but you can use raisins or just leave them out completely if you prefer. I tend to like the element of the fruit though and they go well with the citrus zest. If you’d like a super over the top decadent dessert, you can make a pouring custard or crème anglaise to drizzle over the bread pudding. It is an excellent dish for just about any time and every circumstance , though cooler weather and just makes you feel happy and content when you eat it.

It is very important not to use fresh bread for this pudding as it will not hold up well in the custard. I have also recommended that you toast the bread cubes lightly prior to pouring the egg and milk mixture as this removes some of the moisture and allows the bread to absorb while still keeping its integrity. The toasted crusts are also a great textural addition to the overall outcome. As with all baked puddings and custards, do not overbake or your bread pudding will become dry. Using regular white bread is fine, but I suggest trying this bread pudding with a buttery rich bread like brioche or challah. Avoid seeded or multigrain breads which are too heavy. I rather like a mixture of brioche and croissants as they really make a beautiful bread pudding. You can serve warm or cold, depending on your personal preference. You can also reheat any leftovers in the microwave for about a minute per portion the following day.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. May you enjoy moments of peace, happiness and contentment this holiday. May you truly find many reasons to be most thankful and grateful for Life, Family and Friendships. Keep safe and well friends. xo

Holiday Bread pudding

Serves 4-6


6 thick slices day old bread like brioche,challah or 4 butter croissants. You can also do a mixture of bread and croissants making up around 4-5 cups cubed bread

6 thick slices day old bread like brioche,challah or 4 butter croissants. You can also do a mixture of bread and croissants making up around 4-5 cups cubed bread

1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

2 cups water

½ cup half and half or heavy cream

3 large eggs plus 3 egg yolks 

3 tbsp melted butter

¼ tsp cinnamon

⅛ tsp grated nutmeg

 ½ tsp Zest of lime, lemon or orange finely grated

1 tsp good vanilla

½ tsp salt

¼ cup Dried raisins or dried cranberries (optional)

2 tsp cognac,grand marnier or good rum ( highly recommended)


Heat the oven to 300 degrees 

Cut the bread into cubes and place in a baking sheet. 

Bake for 10-15 minutes to  allow the bread to dry out slightly.

If using cranberries or raisins, place in a small bowl and add a bit of warm water to rehydrate.

In a large bowl, crack eggs and egg yolks and beat together.

Add the can of sweetened condensed milk, water, cream and beat together well.

Strain the milk and egg mixture into another bowl to ensure that any unmixed particles are separated.

Add 2 tbsp melted butter, vanilla, zest, cinnamon, liquor and salt to the strained custard and combine.

Butter a 10” x 10” baking dish.

Place the toasted bread cubes in the baking dish.

Drain the cranberries/raisins and sprinkle over the bread then pour the egg milk mixture over the bread cubes.

Press the bread cubes into the custard mixture lightly, 

Mix 2 tsp sugar with ⅛ tsp nutmeg and sprinkle over the top of the bread pudding.

Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of melted butter of the top crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes until light golden. The bread pudding is done when a skewer or knife if inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serve warm or cool.

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