A great way to use up bread that's past it's prime! This bread pudding has a lovely cinnamon sugar topping and is served warm with a creme anglaise sauce. Start with your any type of bread - plain, cinnamon, left-over cinnamon rolls, challah, brioche or a mixture. As long as it's slightly stale. If you'd rather not make the sauce, simply place a scoop of your favourite vanilla ice cream onto the warm puddings.
1/2tspvanillaor vanilla bean paste
Optional: Splash of bourbon, whiskey or rum
For the pudding:
7cupsstale breadcut into large-ish chunks (I used some of my left-over Cinnamon Crunch Skillet Bread. Alternately, a cinnamon bread would be great or use any plain bread, challah or brioche as long as it's slightly stale. Ideally not pre-sliced, so you can cut larger chunks.)
Cinnamon Crunch Topping (not needed if starting with left-over cinnamon crunch bread):
Sauce: In small saucepan over medium heat, add the cream, milk and 1 Tbsp. of the sugar. Heat until bubbles form around edge of the pan.
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining 1 Tbsp. of sugar. When cream mixture is ready, whisk a small amount into the egg mixture, then add more, a bit at a time, until you have added about 1/2 a cup or so. Stir the tempered egg mixture back into pan with the rest of the cream and cook, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat spoon, about 2 to 3 minutes. It shouldn't boil. (Test by dipping a spoon into mixture. It should coat the spoon and you should be able to run your finger through it and it will leave a clear line).
Pour sauce through a fine-mesh strainer and in to a bowl. Stir in vanilla and alcohol (if using). Place plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the sauce and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour. Sauce will thicken slightly as it cools. (You can make ahead. Will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)
Heat the oven to 350° F with rack in the centre of the oven. Prepare a single 2-quart baking pan or several smaller pans or ramekins.
In a medium bowl or large glass measuring cup, whisk together the milk, cream, eggs, 1/2 cup of sugar, vanilla, and salt until the mixture is smooth.
Spread your bread chunks out evenly and in a mostly single layer in your baking dish or dishes. Pour custard mixture over bread but don't cover bread completely. Pour only enough in to come up about 3/4 of the way so that the top of the bread is exposed. Allow to sit 15 minutes, adding more of the custard mixture as the bread soaks it up, again, no higher than 3/4 of the way up.
Meanwhile, prepare the cinnamon crunch mixture (if not using cinnamon crunch breaby combining the brown sugar and cinnamon and pouring in the melted butter. Stir to combine.
Evenly distribute the cinnamon crunch mixture over the top of the bread pudding (you may not need it all, depending on the size of your dishes). Set the filled baking dish (or disheinto a larger roasting pan and add enough very hot water to the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake until custard is set and top is lightly browned, about 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from water bath and let sit 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm and pour prepared creme anglaise (cold or at room temperaturover the puddings.
Be sure to read the "Cook's Notes" in the original post, for more tips, options, substitutions and variations for this recipe!