Judy’s Blueberry French Toast Casserole/ Bread Pudding

For my new granddaughter’s baby naming party, I wanted to make one more spectacular hot brunch item. I’ve made my french toast bread pudding recipe a few times to rave reviews, but there’s something I don’t like about it, and that’s the syrup that’s on the bottom.  It’s too sweet for me, mostly. I found a recipe on Kitchen Treaty called Cinnamon Blueberry Overnight French Toast that I mixed with my own recipe. So I pretty much kept the custard part of my recipe, added a sprinkling of blueberries, and sprinkled the top with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.  Most importantly, when I took the masterpiece out of the oven, I drizzled the entire top of it with pure maple syrup.  Oh my gosh, I can’t express how delicious this was.  Everyone who ate it loved it and commented on the absolute perfection of the dish.  My daughter called me to tell me that I need to make one entire casserole for her family because she did not get enough of it and because her husband got none.  This is an outstanding recipe, and what makes it even better is that you can prepare it a few hours ahead, or the night before, as I did, and bake it off the next day.

for the custard:

  • 1 challah (I use Zommick’s 15 oz. challah, which I buy at Stop and Shop
  • 8 extra jumbo eggs
  • 2 cups light cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 1/2  to 2 cups of blueberries (optional, but I used them)

for the topping:

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 

essential ingredient for serving:

about 4-6 oz. pure maple syrup- medium grade

Directions:

1.  Cut the challah into slices about 1 inch thick.  Then cut the slices into pieces about 1 to 1 1/2 inches big.  Let them sit out to get a little stale.  If I don’t have the time for that, I put them on a cookie sheet and stick them in a 200 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes (I did this for baby naming party).

2.  Grease sides and bottom of large oval or rectangular 9 by 13 pan with butter.

3.  Place the pieces of challah in so they fit like a puzzle.  If you have to squeeze a few in, that’s fine, but use the entire challah.

4.  Sprinkle the blueberries on top of the challah pieces; you can push some of them down a little into some crevices.

5.  Whisk the eggs, light cream, sugar, cinnamon, salt, vanilla in a mixing bowl. Ladle the custard evenly over the bread.

6.  Refrigerate over night or for a few hours till you are ready to bake.

7.  Before you put into the oven, sprinkle the topping evenly over the top, using all of it.

8.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 min. until top is puffed (even the center) and a toothpick comes out clean.

9.  Take out of the oven, and immediately drizzle the maple syrup all over the  top of the casserole.

10.  Serve immediately!

Croissant Bread Pudding With Chocolate Chips

I recently watched an old episode of Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello, and he made a luscious looking bread pudding.  I made a few changes to his recipe, and I really loved the results.  What is remarkable about this recipe is that it is so easy to make. Below is my version of his recipe.

  • 12 plain croissants (I bought mine at Costco) (let sit unwrapped for a few hours before you use them)
  • about 15 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 stick butter
  • 7 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 1 cup sugar

Directions:

Generously grease a large 10 by 13 pan- sides and bottom- with butter.  Tear croissants into 1 inch pieces- maybe about 4 or 5 pieces for each croissant.  Put all pieces in prepared dish.  Then sprinkle the chips all over.  Toss lightly with your hands or move the some of the top pieces so that some of the chips slip through. 

Prepare the custard by melted the stick of butter in the microwave in a mixing bowl large enough to eventually fit all the custard ingredients.  Let cool a few minutes or stick in the fridge to cool for about 5 minutes.  Then, add the sugar and mix.  Add the cream, and then the eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Whisk till  blended well. 

Ladle the custard mixture over the croissants and chocolate chips.  Push the croissants down lightly with your hands to submerge as best as possible in the custard.  Cover with aluminum foil.  Refrigerate until ready to bake. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake (still covered in foil) in center of oven for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.   Uncover and let cool for a few minutes and serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. 

***If you are baking this at home and then bringing it with you, put it on a half sheet pan after it comes out of the oven, keep it covered with the foil until you serve it. 

Easy To Make Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Pudding

Serve This Bread Pudding For Breakfast, Brunch, or Dessert!

I have a few recipes for bread pudding. This recipe is so easy to make, and it is delicious. Even if you don’t fancy yourself as a baker, you can definitely make this bread pudding! The taste reminds me of a really good cinnamon danish. Of course, this bread pudding isn’t low in calories, but unlike other bread pudding recipes, this recipe uses milk instead of half and half. So, it is lower in calories than some bread puddings. Yet, it still tastes sinfully rich. This dish makes a nice addition to a brunch buffet or even a dessert buffet. It really is comfort food at its best.

  • 8 – 10 1 inch thick slices of challah
  • 4 extra large or jumbo eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup of raisins, currants, or dried cranberries

Grease an oval or rectangular 8 inches by 10 inches by 2 inch baking dish.

Slice the challah into 1/2 inch thick slices. Then cube the bread into 1/2

cubes. Cut the crusts off of the slices of challah. Put the bread cubes in

the prepared dish. It’s okay if you have 2 layers of bread cubes. Sprinkle

the raisins, currants, or dried cranberries throughout and on top of the

bread. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, the milk, the vanilla, the

cinnamon, and the salt together. Ladle the custard mixture over the

bread making sure that you get the custard over all the bread uniformly.

Sprinkle the top with additional cinnamon. Cover the dish with

plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. Preheat

oven to 350 degrees. Bake uncovered 40 to 50 minutes until a toothpick

inserted in the middle of the pudding comes out clean. Serve hot out of the

oven or at room temperature.

Note: Using challah that is a few days old is fine, because if the bread is just a little stale, it will soak up the custard even better. If you are using fresh challah, I recommend slicing it and letting it sit out on the counter for 1 or 2 hours to let it get a little stale.

French Toast Bread Pudding With Challah

This Delicious Recipe For French Toast Bread Pudding Will Warm You On A Cold Winter Morning! 

My family adores french toast. My mother, Shirley Fried, especially loves my French toast. Every once and awhile, I make a batch for her when she comes down to visit me and the kids. I love cooking for my mother, especially since she is my number 1 fan. (My father was my other number 1 fan, but tragically for me, my mother, and my children, the most wonderful man in the world, Murray Fried died 6 years ago. Anyway, I’ve cooked yummy French toast for breakfast for my family for years, and everyone loves it. I sometimes make my french toast using challah, which is an egg bread that is very similar to brioche. Many diners serve French toast made with challah because it has become quite popular. When you use challah to make your French toast, you are definitely kicking the standard recipe up a notch. Anyway, I decided that I needed to adapt my challah French toast recipe so that I could serve it at family gatherings and feed a lot of people without having to stand at the stove while my guests were over. Plus, I wanted to be able to prepare the dish in advance, and you really can’t do that with French toast. I experimented until I came up with the most amazing version of French toast bread pudding, using challah. I served it at a Chanukah party this past Sunday which was given by the wonderful Marsha Greenhouse. Marsha Greenhouse is my daughter Randi’s mother-in-law. Marsha is a warm and genuine from the heart person (a real mensch), and she hosts the best family get togethers imaginable. I love going to every party and gathering at her house. Plus, she kindly lets me cook and bake for these parties to my heart’s content. One of the dishes I made for this gathering was my challah French toast bread pudding. It was delicious! I got lots of compliments, and of course I love that! I think one of the best moments for me was when Marsha’s boyfriend, Al Berman asked me for another piece of the bread pudding. When he put a bite in his mouth he said, “Ooh, this is sooo good.” And Al knows his food. (He’s an excellent cook himself!) There is just nothing as gratifying for me as cooking and baking for people I care about. Please try this recipe. When you take a bite into this yummy challah French toast bread pudding, which truly tastes every bit as good as regular French toast, you will vow to make this again and again for your friends and family, too.

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, plus extra for greasing baking dish (I like taste of butter more than margarine)
  • 1 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup (I actually use 2 tablespoons of Log Cabin and 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup, but I don’t think it matters which type of syrup you use)  *see note at bottom
  • 1 large loaf of challah bread (a loaf should weigh about 15 oz.)
  • 8 extra large or jumbo eggs (I used jumbo the last time, and I loved result)
  • 2 cups of light cream or half and half (I don’t notice any difference in end result)
  • 2  tablespoons sugar (optional- you may eliminate if you want to reduce sugar in recipe))
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (I use this but you may cut it out for a low salt diet)
  • cinnamon (McKormick) to sprinkle on top before you bake
  • optional 3/4 cup chopped pecans (tried it and liked the result, but equally good without- Just remember that many kids don’t like nuts, so if you’re making this for kids, it’s probably better to leave the nuts out!)

Generously grease the bottom and sides of a 13 x 9 x 2 inch oval or rectangular baking dish (I bought an inexpensive, beautiful white oval baking dish at IKEA). Slice the challah about 1 1/2 inches thick. Then cut the slices into pieces. They don’t all have to be exactly the same size, but they should be somewhere around 2 inches square. You definitely should use the crust- do not cut the crust off! In a small saucepan, melt the butter over a low flame. Then add the brown sugar and the syrups; mix until the brown sugar is dissolved. Then pour the syrup mixture into the prepared baking dish. Place the pieces of challah in the prepared dish in one layer. Fit the pieces right up against each other, like puzzle pieces. It’s okay to squeeze them a little so they all fit.

In large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, light cream or half and half, vanilla, salt, sugar,  cinnamon. Ladle the custard mixture over the challah evenly. Then press down with your hands very lightly on bread, so challah soaks in all the custard.  If using the pecans, sprinkle them on top, and then sprinkle with cinnamon lightly but so that there is a light sprinkling over all.  Cover the dish with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 to 4  hours or overnight. (I usually do it overnight just because it makes the job easier for me.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees – and take bread pudding out of the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.  If you feel you should, sprinkle just a little more cinnamon on top. Bake uncovered in the middle of the oven until puffed and golden for about 45 to 50 minutes. Serve immediately.  I make this to bring in for school breakfasts.  I bake it for about 35 minutes at home.  Then I cover it tightly to keep the heat it.  Then when I get to work, I take off the foil, and bake it for another 20 minutes or so to finish it off. 

Optional serving suggestion:  Warm up about 1/8 cup of pure maple syrup in microwave, and drizzle it over the top very lightly right before serving or just serve with extra maple syrup on the side.

You will be amazed by the result!   

Note:  The last few times I made this, I used 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup and 1 tablespoon of light corn syrup. I like to use some pure maple syrup, just because it has more maple flavor.

Note:  Just make sure that the pudding is baked through even at the center so you won’t be eating undercooked eggs.

Note:  last made on July 3, 2011- I used 9 extra large eggs as I didn’t have the jumbo, and I used a mixture of whole milk and heavy cream- and it was yummy!!!