March 29, 2011

Caramel Bread Pudding for a Gloomy Day

Dad shared his bread pudding with me.  Aren't Dad's just the best! I love you, Dad!

Our day is pretty gloomy and it makes me really sleepy.  It's so hard to be motivated in this weather.  I want warmth, sunshine, gardening and sunshine!  I want the beach and sand between my toes.  Alas, I am landlocked and instead of barefoot in the sand, I am stepping in sticky stuff on my kitchen floor and my shoe is going "stick", "stick", "stick", "stick", "stick", "stick" as I walk throughout the house.  No matter how many times I wipe it off, I am missing whatever it is that is causing the "stick".  It's driving me insane!
My Dad is totally worth all of the effort that went into this piece of perfection
I went to Borders last week and picked up a few good deals on some cookbooks.  One of those good deals was The Sono Baking Company Cookbook.  I have a few recipes marked that I want to tackle this week.  First one of my list was the Caramel Bread Pudding.  My Dad is a huge fan of Bread Pudding and I have never made it from scratch so I thought I would give it a go.  I am positive he will be a very willing taste tester.  While my bread is soaking up all of the yummy brandy and vanilla mixture, I decided to kick my sticky shoes off and blog a little bit about this recipe.

Caramel Bread Pudding

Yields 10 servings

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
7 Tbsp. water

6 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped, or 1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
3 tablespoons brandy or dark rum
1 day-old (9-ounce) baguette with crusts intact, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 9 cups)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 recipe Creme Anglaise - following

Brush a 9-inch round cake pan generously with softened butter; set aside.

To make the caramel: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, vinegar, and 4 Tbsp. water.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, swirling the pan to dissolve the sugar.  Boil until the mixture turns a deep amber color, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and immediately add the remaining 3 Tbsp. of water but stand back as it will spit ferociously!  Return the pan to the heat to re-melt the caramel.

Pour the caramel into the prepared cake pan.  Tilt the pan to coat the bottom; set aside to let the caramel set and firm.

To make the pudding: In a heatproof bowl large enough to hold the bread cubes, whisk the eggs with the sugar; set aside.

In an large saucepan, bring the milk, vanilla bean and seeds, if using, and salt to a simmer.   Pour into the bowl with the eggs, gradually at first to temper the eggs and then more quickly, whisking constantly.  Add the rum or brandy and the vanilla extract, if using.  Add the bread and let it soak for 45 minutes, pushing the bread occasionally to keep it submerged, until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Set the oven rack in the middle position.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Bring a kettle of water to a boil.  Dot the caramel with the butter.

Discard the vanilla bean, if using.  Transfer the bread-custard mixture to the prepared pan and level the top.  Cover with a round of parchment paper and place in a roasting pan.  Place the roasting pan in the preheated oven, and pour in the boiling water to come about 1/2 inch up the sides of the pan.

Bake the pudding until firm to the touch, 55-60 minutes.  Carefully remove it from the water bath and let it cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Run a knife around the edges (wearing oven mitts to protect your hands from being burned by the caramel), carefully invert on to a serving plate, and serve with Creme Anglaise.  If you are short on time, top it with vanilla ice cream!

Creme Anglaise

Yields about 2 cups

5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
1 2/3 cup half-and-half (can also use half milk and half heavy cream)
1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise and scraped, or 1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 1/2 sugar.

In a saucepan, combine the remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar, the half-and-half, the vanilla bean and seeds, if using, and the salt.  If using a vanilla bean, scrape the tiny black seeds into the saucepan and add the pod.  Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.  Whisking constantly, gradually pour the hot mixture into the egg mixture to temper it.  Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook, stirring for 1 minute, or until the custard is thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Do not boil.  Remove from the heat and serve.

~ Enjoy!


  1. Your bread pudding looks really well prepared ... the caramel glaze is like the cherry on the cake .. it looks simply delicious.

  2. Looks incredible. Ill have to give this a try for my families upcoming birthday month party.

  3. Thanks Lauren! It will be a perfect birthday treat :)

  4. We have nothing but gloomy days ahead of us here in Seattle, at least for another month or so, and I am definitely making this the next chance I get. Looks ah-mazing!!

  5. Thanks Sarah! I feel for you and the gloominess looming ahead of you :(

  6. Anonymous29.3.11

    It looks absolutely perfect :D I want a peace please :)

  7. This was amazing!! I don't even like bread pudding but I had a small piece and it was delicious!!! You did a great job Dee, and your dad loved it!!!! Now he knows where to get it!!!!

  8. @Firefly, I will send a piece over right now!

    Thanks Mom! I'm glad he enjoyed it :)

  9. This looks so gooooood! I want a piece or two too! I hope one day I can cook this. Have I told you I'm not a good baker? =P

  10. Nami, it's all about following the directions and measurements to a T. I have a friend who was a terrible baker and I gave her this same advice and now she rocks!

  11. Anonymous30.3.11

    Mmmmm...wish I had a piece of this now! What a great way to brighten up a gloomy (or snowy) day! My husband is a huge bread pudding fan...he is going to love this! :)

  12. Oh, that just looks heavenly. I've never had bread pudding other than some really nasty, soggy stuff that was clearly off. I'm getting hungry just looking at this though!


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