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Monday, November 21, 2011

French Bread Pudding

A baguette stays fresh for exactly one day.  That's just how they are born.  Like many people, they begin soft and warm only to end hard and crusty!  That's a problem, unless you like to throw bread away ... or Grandpa.  I like to make Bread Pudding!                            

I will have warm bread pudding for breakfast with a hot cup of coffee, of course.  Sometimes I'll grab it cold in the middle of the night.  Oftentimes it is made with raisins, but don't limit yourself there!   Mix in Cardamom or Cinnamon. Any fruit will work...peaches, plums, even prunes.  Serve with heavy cream (daddy's way), or with creme anglaise - a delicious custard sauce.  In France this is often used in place of frostings.  Can also be used as a topping for fresh fruit.   Be creative!  Unlike a crusty Grandpa, Bread Pudding is very forgiving.


  • One stale baguette (approx. 10 cups), torn or cut into 1 inch chunks.
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cups milk                                                                                     
  • 1 Tbsp. Vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 oz. dried apricots
  • 1 Tbsp. cognac or other brandy (optional).

Cut each apricot into 4 pieces and soak in a bowl of warm water with the cognac.

Pour the milk into another bowl and add the torn bread.  Push it down in the milk so it can soak well.  Place this in the refrigerator so it can soak for an hour.

In another bowl, whip together the eggs, vanilla, and sugar.  Mix this with the soaked bread.  Drain the water from the apricots and stir them in.  

Pour the mixture into a greased 9x13 baking pan, or any attractive baking dish of similar size.  Dot with small pieces of the butter.

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, or until golden brown and set.  

Serves 8



Vanilla Custard Sauce/Creme Anglaise

Caution!  Do Not heat the sauce too much or too quickly!  The egg yolks will cook into little clumps.  We don't like clumps.

You can adjust this recipe for sweetness, adding more sugar if preferred.  I find this to be just right as is.  You can use half and half, or milk, depending on the richness you are after.


  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream                                                                    
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract                                                                                  
Stir together the egg yolks and sugar with a wooden spoon, being careful not to add a lot of air.  Sugar should be somewhat dissolved.

Put the milk in a sauce pan and heat just below the boiling point (milk will form bubbles around the edges of the pan and become steamy just before boiling).

Remove the pan from the heat, and and stir just a couple Tablespoons of the hot milk into the egg and sugar mixing well the whole time.  Gradually add the rest of the milk - stirring constantly.  Return mixture to the saucepan and place on low heat.

Heat the sauce until it thickens, but do not boil!  The sauce is done when it stays on the spoon without dripping - about 5 minutes.  Do not overheat, or it will curdle!

As soon as the sauce is thickened remove it from the heat.  Stir in the vanilla extract and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to desired serving temperature.  Can serve warm or cold.

Makes 2 cups.

Instead of Vanilla, try your favorite liqueur - cognac, rum, or Grand Mariner



Lori said...

And to think I've been making croutons with my leftover bread. Forget the salads...the bread pudding recipe is on my counter!

Off to get a baguette :)

Mel said...

Another great comfort food for dreary days ...