Holiday Spice Bread Pudding
From early September through late December my house smells like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger 99 % of the time. It’s kind of a requirement. So I normally stock up at a large wholesaler along with massive amounts of flour, butter and sugar The last time I went I brought my twin (separated by 7 years) aka one of my younger sisters. You can normally count on her for some sort of amusement and this time was no different. In our typical nerdy behavior we were acting out “Lorraine” skits (MadTV-if you haven’t seen her antics-youtube her after reading!) so as we pass the 20 lb bags of sugar my sister gave the top bag a good pat and a “sturdy operation you got going here!”. And the pile of bags of sugar came sliding down on her. One opened up and started pouring massive amounts all over and all we could is laugh hysterically and try to keep the whole pile from raining down on us. A very sweet passerby noticed our dilemma and ran over to assist in moving the sugar-we ran out of slight embarrassment and the inability to stop laughing. Apparently a not so study operation! But we did make out with some non-opened sugar and spices so Thanksgiving dinner will be complete!
I was never a fan of bread pudding-too mushy for my taste But I started making it with leftover hot cross buns at Easter time and it’s become a treat! For this one I happened across a crusty cranberry orange loaf at my local grocer and it fit perfectly with the spices. I don’t always make it with spice but for the season I added cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice which perfectly complemented the fruity bread and nutty pecans sprinkled across the top. It smelled fantastic baking and will make a warm scrumptious treat for a Thanksgiving breakfast
Holiday Spice Bread Pudding
Yields approximately 9-12 servings
4-5 cups bread*, cubed (4 if you like it more custard-y, 5 if you like it a little firmer)
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
2 tablespoons butter, melted
*If you don’t have cranberry orange bread available you can use any crusty loaf and add a 1/2 cup of dried cranberries and zest of an orange to the egg custard before baking.
1. Cube the bread the night before baking and place in a large shallow bowl or baking sheet to stale.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan with butter and set aside. Stir together the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, spiced sugar, milk, and vanilla. If it isn’t already, place the cubed, stale bread in a large bowl and pour the egg custard over the bread. Let it soak for 10 minutes.
3. While it’s soaking stir together the brown sugar, pecans and melted butter with a fork until fully combined.
4. Pour the soaked bread and custard into the greased baking pan and sprinkle the brown sugar pecan mixture evenly over the top. Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until it’s no longer soupy but quivers slightly. Serve warm.