I’ve had bread pudding twice* in my life. The first time was when Steph, Vicky, Carol, Mark, and I were sitting ‘round the table at Jestine’s Kitchen. We’re all about sharing, so we each ordered a dessert and placed them all in the middle of the table. Then we passed them around. Steph had ordered the Pineapple Bread Pudding and almost took it hostage after her first bite, when she uttered, “I think I just had a foodgasm!” I had never heard that term before, but I had a pretty good idea of what it meant. Happily, we all got a taste. Oh, heck yeah it was goooood! It became the first of four recipes I fell in love with during that trip and planned to put my own spin on when we got back home (If you’re curious about the others, #2 is the Seafood Risotto from the Mustard Seed, #3 is the Lavender Martini from Cypress, and #4 the Pimiento Cheese Fritters from Poogan’s Porch).
The second time I had bread pudding was just moments before I started writing this, when I pulled two ramekins from their water bath and out of the oven. I got a late start, and it’s nearing midnight when I should be getting ready for bed since tomorrow is a workday. Instead, I am here raving about bread pudding…and eating bread pudding, because it’s best fresh out of the oven. Mmmmm. Oh, oops, got lost in that last bite there.
Yes, it is safe to say that I am now hooked on bread pudding.
Before I get to the recipe, I want to share a little bit about the basics. I did a lot of research to uncover the best way [for me] to make bread pudding. If you have a hankering to create your own recipe, here is what you need to know.
The key ingredient is the bread. Choose a bread that you like, but also make sure it can stand up to a good soaking. You want the bread to keep its shape, not break down into mush. Then it would be bread slop, not bread pudding! From my research, it looks like French bread is the most popular, but challah, brioche, Italian, and even croissants are good choices, too. My choice was a homemade brioche that used olive oil instead of butter, which I had finished baking the night before .
Next, you’re going to need a custard. This one I know from when I was trying to figure out why in the world the quantity of egg yolks used in Key Lime Pie varied from 3-9! Never found the answer, but I learned a lot about custard, which is basically a combination of eggs, sugar, and milk or cream.
Lastly, you’re going to need a water bath for the dishes/pans you are baking the bread pudding in. My sister does this for her cheese cakes. When it comes to custard, the water bath cooks the egg and cream mixture gently so it doesn’t curdle and get all gross.
Everything else (fruit, chocolate, nuts, rum) is extra and all up to you! How fun is that?
*Update: Make that three times now. Pumpkin Bread Pudding at Cypress in Charleston on 2 Dec lol.
Pineapple Bread Pudding
Inspired by Jestine’s Kitchen
- 2 cups bread cut into bite size cubes
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp butter melted and allowed to cool
- ½ cup milk*
- ½ cup cream (combine with the milk)*
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup fresh pineapple, cut into bite size chunks
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
*If you would like to use rum, bourbon, or brandy, remove 2 tbsp from the combined milk and cream and replace with the spirit or liqueur of your choosing.
- Pre-heat oven to 300 F
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk egg, sugar, and brown sugar until
the mixture starts to thicken
- Add butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the egg mixture and whisk to blend
- Slowly add the combined milk and cream to the egg mixture, continuing to whisk until all is blended together. If you are using rum, bourbon, or brandy, now is the time to add it in.
- Grease two 4” diameter ramekins with cooking spray or butter.
- Take the pineapple and divide evenly between the two ramekins and arrange so that the pineapple covers the bottom of each.
Over the pineapple, layer the bread cubes into the ramekins and fill to the top
- Carefully pour the custard over the bread until bread is covered. Press the bread into the custard so that all the pieces are nicely soaked.
- Place the ramekins in a deep baking dish (A roasting pan works very well!) and fill the baking dish with water until the water comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins
- Bake bread pudding for about an hour. The best way to tell if it is done is to gently press the center of the pudding. If the custard rises to the top, it isn’t ready yet. The custard will be more creamy than liquidy when it’s done.