Sweet Bread Pudding with Any Fruit You Have
I'm not sure how common it is to have a near-full box of slightly stale donuts in the house, but we're writing this post on the off chance that you find yourself in that situation. Maybe you bought a box of cheap donuts on your daughter's birthday to play the Donut Game. Anyone? (What's the Donut Game? See footnote**) And then you found yourself with a lot of leftover glazed donuts. So I made Donut Bread Pudding with Dried Cherries and Blueberries, and it killed at a Memorial Day Barbecue.
But don't fret it you're not a Donut Game regular: this dish can be created with whatever you've got in the kitchen. Maybe you have croissants leftover from a brunch. Or maybe you have challah or brioche or any kind of slightly sweet bread that you don't feel would taste good in a Savory Bread Pudding. Or you have regular bread, like baguettes or dinner rolls, and you want to make dessert. Here's a recipe for a sweet bread pudding that uses up random bread products as well as fresh or dried fruit and milk, cream or even coconut milk.
The Rough Recipe
This version could have fed a small piece of bread pudding to a dozen people - feel free to scale down if you have less bread or a smaller pan. It takes about 15 minutes active time and then about an hour to bake and could probably be made vegan if you used coconut oil and coconut milk, but I haven't tried it. Let me know if you do!
Here's what you'll need:
- A large baking dish, around 9' x 13'
- Butter, or your choice of product to grease the pan
- Roughly 8 cups of your bread of choice, cut into chunks (this one used 6 slightly stale donuts and 2 heels/ends of sliced honey wheat bread)
- 2 to 3 cups milk or cream
- 2 eggs
- None to 1/3 cup sugar of your choice, depending on your bread situation
- 1-2 cups dried or fresh fruit, cut into chunks (I used 1 cup dried cherries and 1/2 cup fresh blueberries - you could also leave out the fruit and just spoon a fruit compote on top)
Other delicious additions you could consider:
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves or other spices
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
- A handful of chocolate chips
- Whipped cream or ice cream for serving
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease your baking dish.
Cut your bread into chunks and place in a large bowl. Crack the eggs into a small bowl, whisk, then add 2 cups of the milk and whisk to combine. Pour this egg and milk mixture over the bread and press the bread down to submerge it. If the liquid isn't enough to fully submerge the bread, add more milk until all the bread is wet.
The next step requires a bit of judgement - how much sugar do you want to add? I had six glazed donuts as well as dried fruit in my recipe, so I felt no additional sugar was needed. However, this New York Times Bread Pudding recipe has less bread and calls for 1/3 cup sugar. You make the call, depending on what your other ingredients are and how sugary you like your desserts. Unfortunately, this is a really difficult dish to taste before cooking (soggy bread and raw eggs = not so good) but I generally would err on the side of less sugar. You could always sprinkle sugar on top or add a sweet sauce if you really under-sugar.
Once all the bread is well soaked, stir in your sugar, if using, and your fruit of choice. Transfer the bread mixture to your baking dish and bake until the bread puffs up and the top is golden brown, generally about 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, along or with ice cream or pink whipped cream, if that's what your daughter asks for.
**Ladies and gentlemen, the Donut Game:
Because if you're going to give them donuts, why not make them work for it? :)