a hundred bread puddings
As per requested, here is the recipe for this amazing bread pudding. I will give you the original recipe (that I adapted from who knows where). It makes a huge pan - 9x13, which is perfect for potlucks. You won't have one bite left, I promise.
Today I just made a smaller pan, so I cut everything down, roughly by a third. But it was pretty rough, so I feel it's best to give you the original recipe.
The thing about this pudding . . . well there are so many great things. The bread toasts on top, so it has some crunch. Another great thing is the custard that soaks into the bottom of the pudding. It is eggy and sweet. My favorite thing about this pudding is that you can adapt it however you like. I love to make it with fresh or dried fruit and some kind of nuts. I like throwing in chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips, if that's what's on hand) when the fruit is something like dried cherries or fresh cranberries. If the fruit were banana and/or raisins, maybe you'd leave out the chocolate and just go with walnuts or pecans. You can leave the cinnamon in or not use it, to suit your flavor profile. You can turn this single recipe into a hundred bread puddings.
So without further ado:
12 - 16 slices day-old bread (or use a loaf of ciabatta or whatever), cut or torn into chunks
4 Tbs butter, melted
6 eggs, beaten
4 cups whole milk (or half and half, if you dare)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup (approximate - use more or less as you like) of any assortment of fruits, chocolate, and/or nuts*
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 glass pan. Fill pan with bread chunks and drizzle with melted butter. Sprinkle your chosen fruits and nuts over the bread.
Mix eggs, milk, brown sugar, cinnamon (if using) and vanilla together. Pour this mixture over the bread. Use a fork to push the bread down to make sure it all gets soaked with egg mixture.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly tapped. If the top is browning too quickly, tent aluminum foil on top and continue baking.
*the pictured bread pudding has fresh cranberries, chocolate chips, and slivered almonds in it