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!!!