Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Challah Bread Pudding with Blueberries & Cardamom

Why yes, that gigantic whole wheat challah was turned into bread pudding.

We've never made bread pudding before this, since I remember that I didn't particularly care for the texture. But, it couldn't be helped. I certainly didn't want to waste that challah and throw it out! (Aside from about 4 slices, it was still whole and intact.)

I turned to Bittman once again for a base bread pudding recipe. Of course, I didn't really know how much "8 slices of white bread" are in comparison to our humongous challah. So, I simply winged it in terms of increasing the quantities of ingredients. I also added some things and changed some things around.

First, I followed the recipe and heated some milk with butter, sugar and salt. I decided to add some cardamom pods to the milk. Why not? I poured the warm cardamom-infused milk onto my torn pieces of challah. I let that sit for a minute or so while I beat some eggs. Then I poured the eggs over and mixed it all up.

(Just a note: if the milk wasn't that hot, is there any other reason pouring in just the milk first? Why not let the milk cool slightly and mix it and the eggs together? That makes it easier for the eggs to be incorporated.)

We happened to have blueberries on hand, so of course those went into the bread pudding. Instead of just sprinkling sugar on top, I made a crisp/crumble topping with butter, flour, oats and brown sugar. I didn't bother with the bain marie (or maybe I just forgot or didn't read the recipe carefully), so straight into the oven the bread pudding went. Then it was just a waiting game.

The yield: a lot; that being one 13 x 9 pan.

I think this bread pudding may have made me like bread puddings! Of course, the blueberries played a large role in this. Blueberry crisps are one kind of dessert that we have actually made more than a handful of times, and they're always hugely popular. Who can resist that crisp topping!

But, I think that perhaps this bread pudding wasn't as "custardy" or "eggy" (or wobbly) as others I've tasted in the past. Of course, this is no doubt the result of my "winging it" proportions of ingredients. This version of bread pudding was more dense. I like this texture more.

gratuitous mascarpone shot

Ice cream or gelato would've been perfect, but we didn't have on hand. We somehow had some mascarpone cheese, so that had to do. Not that we had any complaints.

[updated November 4, 2008 at 10:32 am]
Today's Recipe of the Day at Bitten, Mark Bittman's blog, is Sweet Bread Pudding! What are the chances! It's a different recipe from the one below. Here's the link: http://bitten.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/04/recipe-of-the-day-sweet-bread-pudding/

Basic Bread Pudding
from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything
makes 6 servings

The ingredients list is from the book, but the method has been paraphrased.

3 cups milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon
pinch salt
8 slices white bread, crusts removed if very thick
3 eggs

Preheat oven: 350F.

Warm milk, butter, cinnamon, 1/2 cup sugar and salt until the butter melts.

Butter/grease an 8-inch square baking dish. Cut/tear the bread in bite-sizes pieces and add to baking dish. Pour milk mixture over the bread. Let sit for a few minutes.

Beat eggs and pour into the bread mixture, swirling to get the egg incorporated all throughout.

Mix remaining sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over top. Place baking dish in a bain marie.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hr, until a knife through the center comes out clean. The center will be slightly wobbly. If you wish to brown the top, place dish under the broiler for a few seconds.


  1. Bread pudding was one of my quick desserts to make when I was in college. But yet to make with blueberries....Nice!

  2. Looks fantastic :) I've always been a bread pudding fan, though!
    I have no idea why the eggs don't go with the milk. This is the first recipe I've seen where they are separate...

  3. I made this almost exact dish with melon this summer. Looks delish. and what is going on with your pictures--they just keep getting better, and they were excellent to start with.

  4. I've made a lot of bread puddings this year & in all of them I use cold milk mixed with the eggs. Yeah the other way seems like it would be really hard to get the eggs mixed in

  5. If I am a die-hard challah fan, I'm an even BIGGER fan of bread pudding. So, I am loving this idea.

    And the photos... that dreamy cloud of marscapone almost put me under my desk!

  6. OMG this looks so amazing. I am such a blueberry nut and challah...well I just love it!

  7. I love challah french toast. And I love blueberry pancakes. But your bread pudding tops them all off. NEED to make this one.

  8. Ooh jeez. The mascarpone is where it goes over the top! I love bread pudding (and strata, and anything else that is custardy and bready) and cardamom is one of my favourite spices. HEAVENLY!!

  9. This looks awesome. I wish blueberries weren't so expensive right now.

  10. Oh my gosh, that looks absolutely delicious. And with mascarpone? I think I just drooled on my keyboard.

  11. Oh my, I love bread pudding. I have tried a making it a few times but I was never happy with the results - either too soggy or too dry. Yours looks great!

    Besides mascarpone and ice-cream, may I also suggest having devonshire cream with bread pudding. Devonshire cream goes with anything... so fatty and yet so good. Hmmm! :-)


  12. gooey deliciousness, made even better with blueberries. frankly, this is probably the best bread pudding i've ever seen.

  13. Challah in bread pudding sounds like a great idea! Love the blueberry addition too :)

  14. oh wow oh wow oh wow...i am a hugeee fan of bread puddings...and this one looks....ehm...fully accessorized! love it! hehe

  15. Oh, how could you not like bread puddings? That is my favorite dessert of all time. This one with the addition of cardamom sounds lovely.

  16. Oh that looks incredible... I like my bread puddings less custardy, but heavy on the butter so the bread on top forms a crispy crust. Love the idea of a crsip topping!

  17. Maya:
    I think we like anything with blueberries!

    Yeah, and in his current recipe, they are mixed together. Just trying to make my life difficult, that Bittman.

    maybelle's mom:
    Haha, don't worry, right after our good friend natural light left us, our pictures have taken a sadder turn. ;)

    Choosy Beggar Tina:
    Teehee, I almost didn't put that mascaropone shot in the post because I thought it really was just a gratuitous photo!

    noble pig:

    Can't wait to see it.

    Joe Horn:
    We made this when they were still in season. =) I don't think I even see them on sale anymore. =(

    We can't be responsible for any computer equipment damaged while viewing this post.

    Ah, a "specialty" cream you want us to have. ;P I've seen it around SOMETIMES... but it seems so expensive!

    Wow! Thanks.

    Mochachocolata Rita said...
    Haha, I guess I can accessorize bread puddings but not myself. =)

    Perhaps I haven't eaten a good one before. =D

    Yes, I think I've just realized that I don't like bread puddings that are too custardy.


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