While pancakes, French toast and beignets are ridiculously delicious and 100% worthy of a Mardi Gras menu, when cooking for a crowd they usually result in the cook getting less-than-perfect eating at the end (nobody likes cold doughnuts!). My solution is simple, just as decadent and even more foolproof: bread pudding! By piling assorted bread objects into a dish and soaking them with a sweet egg and milk custard, the quintessential comfort (and flavour base) of French toast is embodied in it's casserole form. What makes bread pudding even better to me is it's openness to adaptation - change up the breads, add cocoa or peanut butter, stir in nuts, fruit, cheese or chocolate... anything goes! I've even made savoury bread pudding with pepperjack cheese, spinach and sundried tomatoes.
For example, this Double Coconut and Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding variation on the classic recipe was designed by three of my Grade 8 students in an "Iron Chef" style competition in Home Ec. It's made with leftover choux puffs, custard powder and EXTRA vanilla!
The recipe I'm giving you today is the bare bones of the equation - from here, add away, and use up all that gras this Mardi!
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Basic Bread Pudding
Makes one 9" pan, 9 pieces
5 cups cubed bread, rolls, English muffins, croissants, cream puff shells, etc
1 ¾ cups whole milk
3 tbsp custard powder
½ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp melted butter
Additions* as desired
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9” square pan.
- Add bread to pan, spreading evenly. Set aside.
- Beat remaining ingredients (milk – butter) in a bowl until smooth.
- Pour custard over the bread and let stand 15 minutes, pressing down occasionally.
- If bread seems dry at this point, pour in an additional ¼ cup milk to soak the top.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown.
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 6.7 g
Cholesterol: 53.0 mg
Sodium: 171.4 mg
Total Carbs: 23.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.6 g
Protein: 4.7 g