Brunch Series: Bread Pudding (Smitten Kitchen)

I catered a brunch at our place a few weeks back and I bravely tried three new recipes. I wanted to serve a little of everything. The next few posts will highlight them in all their glory. Nothing like a brunch with good friends with a side of mimosas and dry doctor jokes (hehe).

First up, I made a delicious and sweet bread pudding/sweet french toast. It wasn’t hard a great make-ahead dish.

Bread Pudding (from Smitten Kitchen)

3/4 cup sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp sea salt/coarse salt
10-12 oz challah bread (cut into slices about 1/2 inch thick and 3 inch square/round
8 large eggs
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp almond extract

I used my large creuset for this – and it was perfect. You need at least a 9-10 inch round bottom and enough depth for the challah to pile up. Over medium heat, place 3/4 cup sugar, the butter, and salt and let the butter melt. Mix well and let the sugar dissolve and begin the brown. If not browning and little bubbles coming up to the surface, increase the heat slightly. Once this starts happening reduce the heat to medium-low and stir with a spoon so it browns evenly. It’s done when the caramel looks copper. Don’t wait too long or it will burn because it still browns for about a minute or two after you take it off the burner. Place it in the refrigerator and chill it for at least 30 minutes to chill it completely. Once chilled, arrange the bread slices. Place the heel of the bread in the center and fan the slices around it overlapping and forming a “flowery’ type look.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese until smooth. It’s ok for it to have “pieces” of cheese but try to do the best you can. Add milk and almond extract and mix to combine. Pour this evenly over the bread making sure to saturate all of the bread. Cover the pot tightly with plastic wrap and chill overnight. In the morning, take your dish from the fridge an hour before you want to use it. Heat the oven 375 degrees and bake for 30-40 minutes until moist but not wet in the center. Run a knife around the edge of the dish to remove bread from the sides and flip over a serving dish. When ready to serve, cut into wedges and enjoy!

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