A few years ago, bread pudding transformed into breakfast fare in our home. I love making this when we have a houseful of people staying over, because all of the work is done before going to bed. The bread pudding is cooked in morning as everyone is waking up and making their way to the kitchen (which is clean, because you didn't have to make a mess in the morning.) Our version is lactose-free, but you can certainly make it more indulgent by swapping some of the milk for cream, and adding a couple of tablespoons of melted butter.
Our family's version is adapted from "French Toast Bread Pudding" distributed at a Christine Lavin concert, and the Follansbee Inn Breakfast Bread Pudding. —BonEllen
Test Kitchen Notes
Challah, cranberries, nutmeg, a touch of rum, perfect for a Christmas breakfast and an ideal accompaniment to a mug of egg nog. I love how quick and easy this was to prep the night before, and my home smelled fantastic while it was baking. I served the pudding with a lovely little caramel sauce and it was out of this world! I also love the versatility of this recipe—swap out the cranberries and raisins for some cherries and blueberries perhaps, or add some chopped nuts or dare I say even a bit of chocolate? Not a fan of nutmeg? Spice it up with a bit of cardamom. I will definitely be making this again and again! —cgilsbach
Cut or tear the challah into ~1" cubes. As all loaves of challah are different sizes, transfer cubes temporarily to a 2 1/2 - 3 quart casserole dish to check quantity - bread should be level with the top of the dish, not domed. Remove bread and liberally grease the casserole dish.
Add 1/2 of the challah to the bottom of the greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 of cinnamon and 1/2 of the nutmeg. Distribute 1/2 of the raisins and half of the cranberries. Repeat to create a second layer with remaining ingredient.
Whisk together eggs and sugar for one minute. Add milk, vanilla and rum and whisk to combine. Pour mixture over the entire dish. Use a spatula (or your hands) to press down on the bread so it can soak up the liquid. Cover with lid or foil and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, place covered casserole in the oven and turn on heat to 350 degrees. Cook for 60-75 minutes (house will smell fanastic!) If folks like crispy bits on the bread pudding, remove cover for final 10-15 minutes. Allow at least 10 minutes out of the oven for the bread pudding to set and cool.
For an added 'wow' you can make a sauce by warming up your favorite jam (there is a store-brand apricot-peach I love) and thining it out with a couple tablespoons of spiced rum and/or water.