My high school boyfriend took every opportunity he had to eat bread pudding. He loved the stuff, but I wouldn’t touch it. Ever. In fact, I always cringed when he ordered it off of the menu. It was gross and tended to have a lot of rum (yuck!) and raisins (double yuck!!) in it. For years, my feelings about bread pudding were influenced by the sticky glop that was bathed in the neon glow of cheap diners.
Little did I know, years later I would be introduced a bread pudding that would be much more my style – filled with chocolate and sweet bread. But that was just an introduction to everything that bread pudding could – and should – embody.
I made this recipe to take to the same party as the Mexican rice, and I thought it was fabulous. It was a far cry from the rum raisin monstrosities of my past. And, it gave me an excuse to make my newest favorite caramel recipe, as well as whipped cream from scratch, which is so much better than the canned kind.
The only problem I had with this recipe was the sheer amount of bread pudding it made! I ended up with way more than expected, and the 20+ people at the party only finished off about two thirds of it. The rest of the dessert remains in my refrigerator where it daily tempts me into eating enough of it to make myself sick. Actually, now that I think of it, I am kinda hungry…
Cinnamon-Caramel Bread Pudding
20 slices of cinnamon bread (or 1 1/2 loaves of this cinnamon bread)
2 ½ cups milk
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons finely grated orange peel
Pinch of salt
Cut bread into ¾ inch cubes. Whisk remaining ingredients together in large bowl until the sugar dissolves. Fold bead into egg mixture and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill four at least 4 hours or overnight.
When ready to bake the bread pudding, preheat the oven to 375F, stir bread mixture and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Pour bread mixture into buttered, 13x9 baking dish. Spread bread mixture until it is evenly distributed throughout the pan. Bake until golden and puffed up. Test doneness with a toothpick which should come out clean. This should take 40-55 minutes.
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup heavy cream
Put the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, stir just to combine the ingredients and then put the pan over medium-high heat.
Heat, without stirring , until the caramel turns deep amber, about 5-10 minutes. Lower the heat a bit and, standing back from the saucepan add the cream and butter. When the spatters begin to subside, stir to calm down the caramel and dissolve any lumps. Pour the caramel into a Pyrex measuring cup or heat proof bowl.
Allow the topping to set at room temperature-about 20 minutes before serving. The caramel can be put in an air tight container and stored in the fridge ahead of time. It will be the consistency of peanut butter but can be warmed up in the microwave to make it easier to work with.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar (yo u can use more or less to adjust the sweetness of the final product)
Add cream and powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Beat with a hand mixer for several minutes until stiff peaks form. Keep refrigerated until use.
(sources: bread pudding - Gourmet magazine, caramel - Dorie Greenspan's book Baking: From My Home to Yours)