Give me your best non-boozy easy bread pudding with caramel sauce recipe
December 19, 2014 7:05 AM   Subscribe

I have never made bread pudding before, but am looking to tackle it for a holiday meal next week. What’s your go-to recipe that bread pudding eaters of all ages enjoy? We are open to apples and nuts, but there are raisin haters in our group. There is a going to be a lot of cooking happening that day so I’m hoping to find a failsafe recipe that can be prepped ahead, uses standard grocery store bread ie. French or croissants, and isn’t too fussy. Doesn’t have to be caramel sauce, but we are sauce loving people. Any other tips or tricks to pass along? Thanks in advance.
posted by walkinginsunshine to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I was going to make one for Boxing Day too but just came across this French Toast Roast that might suit you instead.
posted by humph at 7:12 AM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't have a specific recipe at hand to recommend, but I can give you a couple of tips that may help you adapt other recipes.

Raisin haters: replace raisins with chopped dates. They provide a similar sweetness but (in my experience with quite a few raisin-haters) a much better taste and texture.

Bread: I strongly recommend a slightly sweet, rich egg bread such as challah or brioche. The richer the bread is to start the less you'll have to do to make it into an appealing dessert. The result will be more forgiving.

Sauce: don't forget that fresh bread pudding (i.e. still warm) also goes very well with a little ice cream, which can save you the trouble of making a sauce (or rescue things if the sauce doesn't turn out as well as you'd like).
posted by jedicus at 7:25 AM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Bread Pudding is such a no-brainer. Easy to do and everyone LOVES it!

Here's a a basic recipe, but you can tart it up really easily.

You can substitute the raisins for Craisins, blueberries, chopped and sauteed apples, whatever floats your boat.

For something really special, do a standard bread pudding, and make Bananas Foster as a sauce for it. Vanilla ice cream is ALSO amazing with it.

You can assemble the day before and let it all set and get gooey. Pop in the oven as you sit down to dinner, and it'll be hot and crusty by dessert time.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:28 AM on December 19, 2014

My family has been making Coach House Bread and Butter Pudding for 40 years. It's fool-proof.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:43 AM on December 19, 2014

America's Test Kitchen's take on Caramel Bread Pudding and Classic Bread Pudding.
posted by zinon at 7:49 AM on December 19, 2014

This is the best bread and butter pudding, no argument. If you happen to have a load of brandy cream left over from the Christmas pudding, use that in it.
posted by tinkletown at 7:55 AM on December 19, 2014

Pumpkin Bread Pudding. You can skip the cranberry caramel sauce (but it is a counterpoint to the sweetness of the pudding) but the maple whipped cream is a must.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:17 AM on December 19, 2014

There's an easy make-ahead version that is beloved in our family, called "french toast casserole." It's basically bread pudding that you serve with maple syrup. You assemble it the day before and fridge it overnight, then cook it in the oven right before serving (or cook earlier and reheat, it's very forgiving). There are plenty of recipes online, some have additional sweet toppings.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:40 AM on December 19, 2014

Orange Bread Pudding has nice fruity flavors but successfully ducks the "raisins" issue, and comes with matching orange-caramel sauce. And no booze.
posted by aimedwander at 8:44 AM on December 19, 2014

12 egg yolks
2L cream (35%)
300mL sugar (plain white granulated sugar)
1 vanilla bean / 1 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch salt (kosher or sea, not iodized)

1 loaf challah or brioche, unsalted (egg bread; some variety should be available at most big supermarkets)
Butter, soft, unsalted

1) Slice the crusts off the bread (mostly; doesn't need to be perfect) and slice the bread into 3/4-1" (1.5-2.5cm) slices, then butter both sides. Lay out on a baking tray and bake at 350 for about fifteen minutes or until golden all over--you'll need to flip once. Can do on a wire rack set over a tray if you want to go faster.

2) Remove from oven, allow to cool, and cross-cut the slices into cube-ish things. Or just hand-tear, whatever feels good to you.

3) Beat egg yolks with sugar in a heatproof bowl until pale yellow and fluffy. Save the whites (they freeze perfectly fine) for a later meringue pie or mousse or anything you like.

4) Slice vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a paring knife. Put pod, seeds, and cream in a large saucepan and gently bring to a boil.

5) Turn off the heat immediately, wait a couple of minutes. Twist a kitchen towel into a circle and place your bowl with the egg yolks on top to keep it steady. (Or use a stand mixer if you have one--much easier!)

6) With a whisk in one hand (or using the stand mixer) slowly pour in the hot cream, beating vigorously. When I say slowly, I mean slow like pouring wine. You want to bring the eggs up to temperature gently so as not to scramble. As you go, you can start pouring faster, but the first half litre or so should be a slow but steady stream. Strain or fish out the vanilla pods; pour through a very fine mesh strainer if you're concerned about any scrambling. Reserve half. (You have now, basically, made a creme Anglaise, runny custard.)

7) Butter a baking dish, fill with bread, and pour over half of your Anglaise. Push the bread down into it to really soak up the liquid. Cover with foil.

8) Return the extra Anglaise to a saucepan and heat gently, stirring frequently, to thicken. To test, dip a wooden spoon into it, then draw your finger across the back of the spoon. When it leaves a defined line, you're done. Pour (through a fine strainer, again, if you're concerned) into a metal or ceramic bowl in a larger bowl of ice water. Stir until cooled. If you're doing this step at the last minute, just decant into whatever sauce serving apparatus you prefer.

Steps 1-8 can be done up to three days in advance. (Except 8 if you want hot custard.)

9) Bake approximately 45 minutes at 350F/175C. Uncover for the last ten minutes of cooking; take it out when the edges are nicely set but the centre is still wobbly-but-not-liquid. If you want to do everything ahead, cook the day before and cut into portions, then reheat in microwave (wrapped in saran, about 1.5 minutes per piece) or oven (covered).

Dress with sauce and voila, bread pudding. It's a little fiddly but that is the nature of custards.

Simple salted caramel sauce:

500mL (2 cups) granulated white sugar
100mL (scant half cup) water
Kosher salt (maybe a tablespoon? I've never measured. Add a little and taste)
250mL (1 cup) cream, 35%

Combine salt and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until golden brown. Decant into a heatproof bowl, stir, then slowly whisk in the cream. Add salt to taste.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:00 AM on December 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

I make this bread pudding a lot. Super easy and amazing.
posted by Jacob G at 10:09 AM on December 19, 2014

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