Not that bread pudding isn’t sort of already great the next day for breakfast (like most sweet, yummy treats), but Ina Garten just put a tiny twist in that she serves this with maple syrup. I’ve been wanting to make it ever since I saw it on her show several years ago, probably while I was laid up on the couch, on my left side and trying not to stress my bod out any further while several months pregnant. Yes, I’d torture myself by watching show after show of people cooking great-looking food. What else do you do when you’re pregnant and not supposed to even sit up?
Anyway, this is only the second time I’ve ever made bread pudding, despite the fact that, in general, I love the stuff. One was a Cooking Light recipe – and I’m sorry to say, CL – but it was awful. We get an absolutely heavenly bread pudding almost every year for one of my company’s annual holiday luncheons, so maybe I just made due with that. I knew there would come a day that bread pudding and I would have a reckoning, though, and this was it.
Just so you know, the ingredient that sis and I tore around town trying to find this time was the brioche that Ina calls for, but we ended up substituting Jewish challah bread, and we think it turned out very well. I guess if we were feeling adventurous, we’d have made homemade brioche, but we really have to schedule adventure in advance, since most weekends just aren’t big enough to fit it in.
Isn’t challah interesting looking? It’s always caught my eye in the store, but I’ve never tried it till now. Sis said it would be good. She was right. This one got sliced into 6-8, 1-inch-thick pieces.
I love to zest citrus fruits. The kitchen smelled heavenly. This goes in the custard mixture. Reviews I’d read on Food Network alluded to the orange zest being too overpowering, but sis and I agreed that it worked very well and wasn’t overpowering at all.
Drop the zest into the custard mixture along with eggs, half-and-half, honey, vanilla and salt.
Give all of that a good whisking.
Layer half the bread on the bottom of your dish. Add raisins. Add more raisins. We say use as many as you want. The recipe called for golden ones, but this was what was in my pantry, so in it went.
Place the rest of the sliced bread on top (ours was quite tall by then and rose about an inch above the dish), then carefully pour the custard mixture over the bread.
Next you have to press all that bread down so it and the custard can all meet up. A spatula may have done well enough, but I wanted to make sure all the bread absorbed some of the custard so I used my hands. Squishy! Who says you can’t play with your food? At this point, let it rest for fifteen minutes before putting it in the oven.
The recipe said it would get “puffy”. Um – yeah! Sure did. But you’ll also find that it will deflate, too. Ours did to about the rim of the baking dish.
This can be served pretty quickly (after a small cool-down), with a drizzle of syrup, preferably. The original calls for maple, but, again, making due with what was in my supplies, we used pancake syrup. And it was wonderful. The pudding itself is not overly sweet at all, so the syrup won’t send this dish into sugar shock. It’s a classic treat that is homey and comforting, and no matter what kind you make, definitely have some for breakfast.
Breakfast Bread Pudding
from Ina Garten on Food Network
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 55 minutes Level: easy Servings: 8
- 5 extra-large whole eggs
- 2 extra-large egg yolks
- 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons orange zest (2 oranges)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Brioche loaf (substitute challah if you can’t get brioche)
- 1/2 cup golden raisins (we used more, advise doing so to taste)
- Maple syrup, to serve
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, half-and-half, honey, vanilla, orange zest, and salt. Set aside.
Slice the brioche loaf into 6 (1-inch) thick pieces. Lay half brioche slices flat in a 9 by 14 by 2-inch oval baking dish. Spread the raisins on top of the brioche slices, and place the remaining slices on top. Make sure that the raisins are between the layers of brioche or they will burn while baking. Pour the egg mixture over the bread and allow to soak for 15 minutes, pressing down gently.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until the pudding puffs up and the custard is set. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving.
I think what I like best about this recipe is that there’s no chilling time required, so you can easily make this for guests or family the very morning you plan to serve it.
I did think that ours may have baked a little too long. As per usual with baked items, pay close attention to the oven and check it every so often to make sure yours isn’t getting too done. Look for a nice, golden brown color, not an overdone darker brown. Leave it in too long and it might get dry.