When it comes to sweets, I’m not really your “typical” girl. I don’t tend to crave chocolate or candy or anything of the like, even during certain times of the month (you all know what I’m talking about). That being said, I do make an exception for a few types of desserts. We’re in the midst of midterms here at UC Santa Cruz, and when I’m under a lot of stress I tend to reach for warm, rich comfort foods like bread pudding. It’s warm and sweet and comforting, the kind of dessert that can be eaten for breakfast with little to no guilt, too. It also has the added bonus of being cheap to make, and only takes about an hour from start to finish.
I tend to make it with a loaf of Cinnamon Twist Challah, made by a local bakery (Semifreddi’s), but I highly recommend using any kind of dense, springy bread. It’ll soak up all the goodness of the custard mixture and make a super-decadent confection that’ll leave you coming back for more.
Read on for my recipe…
As always, gather up your ingredients.
You will need:
6 slices of day-old bread, or about half a loaf (try challah, brioche, or French bread)
2 tbsp. butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract (as always, use the best you can afford. It really makes a difference)
To start, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 degrees Celsius), then thickly slice your bread if it’s not already.
(I will reiterate what Baker Nerd told me a long time ago: “A sharp knife is a safe knife”. Keeps your knives in good condition– it might just save your fingers!)
Don’t worry about making the slices pretty– they’re just going to get pulled apart. Tear the bread into small pieces (I aim for around the size of a postage stamp) and place inside an 8 x 8 baking dish, then pour the melted butter over them.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Beat with a fork until well mixed– the mixture should resemble a pancake batter, or thick scrambled eggs, when you’re done.
Pour the mixture over the bread, lightly pushing down on it to make sure that every piece is evenly covered.
Put into your preheated oven and bake for about 45 minutes. The pudding is done when the top is golden brown and crispy, and it springs back if pushed on lightly. Let cool, serve, and enjoy your much-deserved break from Syntax and Phonology (okay, those last two are probably just me).