I'm a fiend for bread pudding but always felt it was too rich, until my friend Erin gave me a recipe years ago that was much lighter, very forgiving, and incredibly tasty. I have modified it a little over the years. I have seen recipes for bread pudding and they always call for way more eggs, butter and cream (or all three) than I think is reasonable. This one is much lighter and so very good. I make it sightly different each time but here's the basic recipe:
- 6 cups bread, cubed. I use about 8 slices that are old, saved in the freezer. I use them frozen, tear them up and they are normally a mix of white and whole wheat and they are almost always the heels only.
- 1/4 cup melted butter (I usually use even less)
- 2 cups milk
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- a little vanilla and some spices, like cinnamon (I use a teaspoon of my spice mix)
- 1 handful of berries (frozen or fresh, or chocolate chips, stone fruit, whatever you like) I used frozen raspberries in this one, which is a favorite.
I put the bread in an 8" x 8" casserole dish or pan, mix the other ingredients and pour them over the bread and then let it sit overnight in the fridge. This is key. I have tried it many times without letting it sit overnight, and it's never the right texture. So just make this the night before. Bake at 375 degrees for about 35-45 minutes. Let sit a little and then have it warm with a little maple syrup, lemon juice, and powdered sugar. Erin likes to drizzle a whiskey/powdered sugar glaze.
You can make this savory by omitting the sugar, adding about 1/2-1 cup grated cheese, and some mushrooms and onion that have been sauteed, or chilies, or just cheese, or some meat type item (like chopped ham or sausage) and some herbs. Delicious!
I love using my bread up for this dish because it's so good and so satisfying using up the weird stash of bread heels I insist on keeping that seems to grow at an alarming rate. I know it's not the prettiest dish to photograph, to to me, it's a beautiful photo of happiness.