If you follow along on this site, you already know that I recently had a fun afternoon with my daughter reading a book and baking cinnamon-raisin bread. And while we enjoyed it as part of some fantastic PBJs, some slices of French toast, and more, we had even more of it left within a few days. And, is often the case, our afternoon of baking begat even more baking and this was what greeted us at the end of a yummy dinner one evening:
Bread pudding, when made well, is a beautiful blend of a rich, creamy center and a lightly-toasted crisp crust. And, ideally, those elements are married with a luscious drizzle of an amazing dessert sauce. Well, that's just the case here. The leftover bread became the base of the bread pudding and elements of citrus found their way into both pudding and sauce. The result was a warm, comforting dessert that had us all smiling.
You can, of course, use store-bought bread and even opt for something other than cinnamon-raisin bread, though we really adored the variety pictured above. I think the crumb of the homemade bread was a bit heartier than your average loaf of bread from the market and that meant a fun, crispy edge to the dessert we enjoyed. That was only made better by a liberal sprinkling of brown sugar before the pudding made its way to the oven.
The caramel sauce here is pretty standard. I've replaced some of the traditional cream with orange juice to give it a stronger citrus flavor and finished it with some orange zest and bourbon. If you want, you could also skip the bourbon and still have a really lovely dessert sauce. If you happen to have additional sauce leftover, feel free to enjoy it over pound cake, ice cream, or just eat it with a spoon! Ahem. Not that I'd ever do anything like that.
- 4 eggs
- 2 c. milk
- 1/2 c. + 2 T. brown sugar, divided
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 T. grated orange zest
- 5 c. cinnamon-raisin bread cubes — you can also use store-bought bread
- Cooking spray (for baking dish)
- 1 c. white sugar
- 1/4 c. heavy cream
- 1/4 c. freshly-squeezed orange juice
- 1 T. orange zest
- 1 T. bourbon
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Add the brown sugar (reserving 2 tablespoons for later), cinnamon, and orange zest. Mix well.
Cut the bread into 1-inch pieces. Gently stir the bread pieces into the egg mixture. Let stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the pudding soaks, preheat the oven to 350° F and coat an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
Pour the pudding mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the reserved brown sugar.
Bake the pudding for 45-50 minutes, or when a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
While the pudding is baking, make the caramel sauce. Combine the white sugar, heavy cream, and orange juice in a heavy-bottomed small saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to bubble. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue stirring until the mixture thickens and caramelizes. Be careful to not over-cook the sauce, as it can burn easily. Remove the sauce from the heat and, still stirring, add the zest and bourbon and stir to combine well.
Serve the bread pudding in small bowls drizzled with the caramel sauce.
- Yields: 8 servings
- Preparation Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes