Bread Pudding with the Best Vanilla Sauce

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In the past, whenever anyone mentioned bread pudding to me I thought, “wow, that sounds disgusting!” I always thought, “why would anyone want to eat soggy bread??”

That was before I actually got to try some…

And now…I AM OFFICIALLY HOOKED!

My husband said it was one of the best things that he ever put in his mouth…enough said.

INGREDIENTS:

4 stale croissants, cubed
2 1/4 cups of milk
3 eggs
1/4 cup of packed brown sugar
1/4 cup of white granulated sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
baking spray or softened butter

FOR THE BEST VANILLA SAUCE:

1 cup of milk
1 stick of salted butter, cubed
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla bean paste (may sub for vanilla extract)
1 Tbsp of cornstarch
*add in some rum or bourbon for a little kick :)

FOR GARNISH:

slices of banana
turbinado sugar (raw sugar)
whipped cream
vanilla ice cream
cocoa powder
fresh fruit
*you will also need a culinary torch or butane torch

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Spray some Pam or butter flavored cooking spray into a 9×9 baking dish. You may use some softened butter instead. Place your cubed, stale croissants into the baking dish and set aside.
2. Into your blender, add in your eggs, milk, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Pulse until combined. You may whisk this all by hand as well.
3. Pour your wet mix over your cubed croissants. Gently push the croissants down, making sure that all pieces have soaked up some of the milk mixture.
4. Bake for about 50 minutes or until bread pudding becomes puffy. Half way through, cover the pan lightly with some foil to prevent too much browning.
5. While your bread pudding is baking, start on the vanilla sauce. Into a small saucepan, add in your milk and sugar. Turn the heat to medium.
6. Whisk in your vanilla bean paste.
7. Take some of the hot milk and mix it well with your cornstarch to make a slurry. Add the slurry back into the saucepan. If using rum or bourbon, use that in place of the hot milk.
8. Let the mixture come to a quick rolling boil and then quickly reduce heat to a gentle simmer for about 5-7 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Make sure to constantly whisk!
9. Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in your butter until smooth. Taste check. Add more liquor if you so please. :)
10. Right before serving, take your banana slices and dip them into your turbinado sugar and caramelize them using your butane torch.

NOTES:

*You do not need to add parchment paper into your baking dish. I only used it in the video because it was easier for me to remove a nice piece of bread pudding for pictures. :)

*You may use any stale bread you’d like. Use enough bread to fill your 9×9 baking dish. My guess is anywhere from 8-10 pieces, if you are using sandwich bread.

*Using stale croissants give an amazing buttery taste to the bread pudding so if you’re using something else, I would suggest adding some melted butter into the milk mixture.

*If your croissants are not stale, I would suggest cubing them first and then leaving them out to dry on a baking dish otherwise it gets really messy to cut because it’s so dry.

*For best results, your bread needs to be stale before pouring in your milk mixture. If it’s too soft, what will happen is you’ll end up with portions of cooked egg on the bottom of your baking dish because your egg/milk mixture didn’t properly soak into the bread pieces.

*With that being said, feel free to let your bread and milk mixture soak in the fridge for a couple of hours or even overnight if you did not use stale bread.

*You may use half and half instead of milk. I always have milk so that’s what I usually end up using.

*The bread pudding itself isn’t very sweet so feel free to up the amount of sugar or even add some cinnamon or nutmeg for an extra kick. The vanilla sauce in this recipe adds the extra sweetness that completes this dish!

*If your bread pudding does not get puffy during baking, that means that your bread was not dry enough. I leave my softened, cubed croissants out for at least 3-4 days before using.

*Make your caramelized bananas RIGHT BEFORE SERVING. After several minutes, the bananas will begin to sweat so they must be eaten right away.