When the weather cools, and the leaves start to turn, my thoughts gravitate to my basic bread pudding and the many ways to make it. When you add a decadent Hard Sauce on top, you have a treat that is heavenly.
Bread pudding is very easy to make. Most often all the ingredients, plus a few extras of choice, are readily available. This Basic Bread Pudding is one of our favorites for many reasons, one is it’s a great make-ahead dessert.
Basic Bread Pudding with Hard Sauce
Basic Bread Pudding
Ingredients: Makes 9 servings.
- 5 beaten eggs
- 3 cups whole milk
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of Kosher salt
- 5 ½ cups dry or stale regular French Bread cut into cubes
Optional Add In’s (Check for other add-in variations below)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ cup dried fruit (dried mixed fruit, cherries, cranberries, or raisins)
- ½ cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, cashews, or almonds)
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
In a large bowl, beat together the beaten eggs, milk, sugar, salt, vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon. In an 8 x 8 inch high-side ungreased casserole or baking dish, distribute the bread cubes evenly in the casserole dish. If adding fruit and nuts as I did, sprinkle the dried fruit, nuts and lemon zest over the bread cubes in layers to evenly distribute. Gradually pour the egg emulsion evenly over the bread cubes, fruit, and nuts. Using a flat spatula firmly press the bread cubes, to moisten. Sprinkle a small amount of sugar evenly over the top. Let rest for 5 minutes before baking.
Bake the raw bread pudding uncovered, for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the Bread Pudding is puffed up and a small knife comes out clean when inserted in the center of the pudding. Allow the Bread Pudding to cool slightly. Cut and serve warm with hard sauce; recipe below (or whipped topping, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream). Store any leftovers in the fridge to be reheated at another time. Bread Pudding is actually better the next day.
Variations: There are a million ways to vary a basic bread pudding. It indeed gets down to what you have on hand and what strikes your fancy.
- Rocky Road Bread Pudding – Add ½ cup mini chocolate chips, ½ cup walnuts, and ½ cup mini marshmallows.
- Carmel Apple Bread Pudding – ½ cup diced dried apples, ½ cup walnuts. Served with warm caramel sauce.
- Blueberry Lemon Bread Pudding – ⅔ cup dried blueberries, 2 tablespoons lemon zest and 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.
- Cherry Orange Bread Pudding – ½ cup dried cherries, ½ cup large orange zest strips, and 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice.
Notes: If you don’t happen to have stale bread; place the bread cubes in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake in a 350° F oven for 10 minutes. You may use different types of bread; just be aware a denser bread may require you to reduce the bread cubes by a ½ cup or so.
To reheat the Bread Pudding, loosely wrap it in aluminum foil and allow it to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350° F and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. The larger the quantity, a longer time may be needed to reheat. To Microwave, set on low power for 2 to 8 minutes; check frequently until you’ve reached the desired temperature.
Hard Sauce Recipe
This Hard Sauce will make any basic bread pudding sing. Trust me; you will want to make this and add it to a warmed serving of bread pudding.
Ingredients: Makes approximately two 4 oz. jars (1 cup)
- 4 ounces softened whipped butter
- Pinch of Kosher salt
- 1 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 2 teaspoons of whisked a egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons brandy
Place the whipped butter in a small food processor and puree until light and creamy. Add all the remaining ingredients and puree until blended and smooth. Spoon the hard sauce into two 4 oz. jars, seal and refrigerate.
When ready to serve, remove a jar from the refrigerator and allow the hard sauce to come to room temperature, for about an hour.
Notes: The recipe can easily be doubled if desired. As a reference, 2 teaspoons of whisked egg yolk equals approximately ½ of an egg yolk. There are many other uses for a hard sauce other than on bread pudding. Try it on it plum pudding, pound cake, unfrosted cakes, or on some desserts to add a bit of decadence.
Now, for the cooks or non-cooks, this Basic Bread Pudding and Hard Sauce are “must make” recipes for just about any occasion. I have been known to reheat a serving for breakfast. It’s just another suggestion for when to serve this piece of heaven.
Time to eat…
P.S. Take a moment to check out my new recipe booklet’s for sale on this site and purchase some of the tools I used for this “Basic Bread Pudding with Hard Sauce” below. 🙂