Monday, March 31, 2008

Pineapple Upside-Down Bread Pudding is a slice saver

There was only one left.
After arranging the nine pineapple slices in the baking pan for the upside down cake, I found one lonely slice left in the bottom of the can.

Choices here:
Eat it.
Save it for later.
Toss it.

None of the above. The one and only possibility was to add it to some stale bread and make a festive bread pudding. Fragrant and fruity and looking pretty as a new spring flower.

Rather than cut up the pineapple, we decided to place it on the butterscotch topping that we’d spooned onto the bottom of a small ceramic baking dish. Added a red cherry to the center, and we were off and creating.

We added some pineapple juice for an aromatic touch. Next time we might put in pineapple vodka (from the stash we made up several months ago) or some pineapple rum.

Note: the liquid to bread ratio in this BP was kind of high, producing a final result of a nice, custardy texture. For a thicker version, you could just up the bread ante.

This pineapple bread pudding was even better the next day with our breakfast coffee. Okay, so this BP in the morning thing is becoming a delicious habit.


Cooking spray
1 tablespoon (heaping) butterscotch flavored topping
1 canned pineapple slice
1 maraschino cherry
2 cups challah, or other egg bread, cubes
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2/3 cup half & half or cream
3 tablespoons pineapple juice (drained from the can)

Spray bottom and sides of 2-1/2-cup baking dish. Drizzle pan bottom with butterscotch topping. Drain pineapple well between paper towels. Place over topping in center of pan, then add cherry to center of slice. Top with bread cubes. In bowl, whisk eggs together with sugar. Stir in melted butter, cream, and pineapple juice. Pour liquid over bread. Let stand about 20 minutes. Bake in preheated 350-degree F. oven 45-50 minutes or until set. Cool slightly, then invert onto plate. Makes 2 to 4 servings.
(Note: Use a higher ratio of bread for a more dense bread pudding.)
© 2008, Recipe by Portia Little.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Got the blues? Add 'em to bread pudding!

As I walked along Narragansett Bay today, bundled up in a heavy jacket and knit hat, I dreamed of warm beach days, cookouts on the patio, and the fresh fruits of summer. We’ll have to be patient. Not until late summer will we be able to pick fresh blueberries in this neck of the woods. Or seashore as the case may be.

But meanwhile, we have to settle for the supermarket variety, which comes from who-knows-where, to enjoy in a delightful bread pudding that’s made with only two slices of good Italian or French bread. Not the soft puffy stuff you sometimes find in the super, but the real thing with crusty outers and a hearty inner that has some clout. This is my favorite breakfast BP, topped with more of the fresh blues, and of course some whipped cream. If you’re gonna sin, you might as well start early in the day.

If I don’t have any blues on hand, I just toss in whatever fresh fruit’s in the fridge, such as strawberries or raspberries, or blackberries. I suppose you could also use chopped dried fruits such as apricots, cherries, or those things they call Craisins. I’ve never tried dried fruits in this particular BP, but it sounds like a worthwhile experiment, maybe enhanced with a little good-smelling liqueur like kirsch or amaretto.

Mmm, let’s head to the kitchen and slice the bread, then cut it into strips, then crosswise into chunks. Your morning coffee will have a friend it doesn’t want to part with.


2 slices day-old Italian or French bread
1 large egg
1/4 cup heavy cream (or half & half if you’re cutting down)
3 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Generous dashes nutmeg and cinnamon
1/4 cup fresh blueberries (can use frozen; do not thaw)
A few additional berries to top pudding

Cut bread into 1/2-inch cubes. Place in buttered or cooking-sprayed 2-1/2-cup baking dish. In bowl, whisk together egg, cream, milk, sugar, butter, vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Stir in blueberries. Pour over bread cubes. Let stand in fridge about 30 minutes. Bake, uncovered, in preheated 350-degree F. oven 30-45 minutes, or until top is golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm, topped with whipped cream or topping, and a sprinkling of fresh blueberries. Serves 2.
(Note: make this BP the day before, then nuke until warm when ready to serve.)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Stale hot cross buns? Make 'em into bread pudding!

If you’re like me, you started to salivate when those hot cross buns hit the market in the weeks before Easter. Laden with candied fruits, and topped with that wonderful white icing, I couldn’t resist picking up a few packages. But now, try as we did to finish them, the buns that are left are beginning to dry out around the edges.

Of course, we couldn’t toss them. Bread pudding time!!!!

We cut one of them into chunks, which we placed in a small glass baking dish along with a few currants and chopped dried apricots. Mixed up some eggs, cream, sugar, and butter, then added a splash of Grand Marnier, and we were on our way.

We frosted them with a cross of vanilla icing, and served the pudding topped with chopped dried cranberries. We know what we’ll have for breakfast tomorrow.


1 stale hot cross bun, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons currants OR chopped dried fruit
2 eggs
1/4 cup half & half
1/4 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Confectioner’s sugar icing

Place bread chunks into buttered 1-1/2-pint glass or ceramic baking pan. Top with fruit. In bowl, whisk together eggs, half & half, milk, sugar, Grand Marnier, and butter. Pour over bread mixture, saturating bread. Let stand while you preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake in preheated oven 35 to 45 minutes or until set and browned on top. Cool slightly and serve topped with a ‘cross’ of icing. Serves 2-4.
© 2008, Recipe by Portia Little.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Chocolate egg bread pudding is eggs-actly right for Easter

We’re planning our Easter menu, and along with the usual bunny cakes, colored eggs, and jelly beans, we’re going to surprise our guests this year with a sensational new dessert.

What else, but bread pudding? Looking through the range of Easter basket goodies at the market, I zeroed in on some of those little milk chocolate eggs, which I brought home and whipped up into an incredible BP. I crushed up the eggs into small chunks, and also added a handful of fresh raspberries – chocolate and fruit (especially those red fruits such as cherries, strawberries, or raspberries) just seem to go together.

A delightful treat that you can make ahead is the order of the day, of course, especially for holiday meals – take the stress out of the last-minute prep. Make this BP the day before and keep it in the fridge. Then just scoop out servings onto dessert plates for guests to enjoy. (If you’d like to serve it warmed up, just nuke it while you’re singing, “Here comes Peter Cottontail, hoppin’ down the bunny trail...”) The oohs and ahs will keep coming as you bring out this spring dessert, decorated with green, pink, orange, and yellow jelly beans, maybe a little chocolate sauce, and topped with a chocolate egg. And if a chocolate bunny friend sneaks in to the picture, trying to attract attention, that’s okay too. Let bunny sit on the plate and enjoy the view.

Have fun creating your colorful Easter bread pudding. Use your imagination to add items from your shelf such as mini marshmallows, nuts, dried fruit, or even ice cream sauces.
Happy Easter!


3-1/2 cups day-old French or Italian bread, cubed
2/3 cup chopped chocolate eggs (or chocolate of your choice)
1/2 cup chopped Bing cherries, raspberries, or strawberries (do not thaw if frozen)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond flavoring
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place bread cubes in 2-quart buttered baking dish. Mix in chopped chocolate and fruit. With electric mixer, beat eggs until foamy. Beat in sugar; mix in milk and flavoring. Pour egg mixture over bread. Dot with slivers of butter, then sprinkle on cinnamon-sugar. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve topped with whipped cream or topping. Serves 6-8.
© 2008, Recipe by Portia Little.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Photos of recent BPs

Here are some photos of recent BPs - St. Pat's Day bread pudding and also the fresh raspberry one. I'm new at this, so I hope they'll look nearly as great as the BPs were!

Bailey's Irish Cream sauce tops St. Pat's Day pudding

Who knows if St. Patrick would have liked bread pudding? Or, in fact, if he ever had a chance to try some.

But in honor of his day, I’m making a bread pudding to take to a St. Paddy’s Day party – I adapted the recipe from one that the hostess gave me - it has white and dark chocolate – I used the bittersweet version - and is topped with a creamy sauce made with Bailey’s Irish cream. (Ooooh, I did manage to leave some to put in the sauce.)
She found the recipe on (from Bon Appetit originally), so how can I go wrong? The BP has been in the oven for a half hour as I write this, and the chocolate aroma is incredible.

I made the sauce yesterday, which I’ll bring in a small pitcher for pouring over the individual portions. The original recipe called for 14 cups of bread cubes, but I used only 10 cups because I like a custardy, rather than a dense BP.

I just peeked in the oven – the chocolate is starting to ‘bubble up’ and the top is golden and crusty. Almost time to take it out. I can’t wait!

It’s fun to create bread puddings with a holiday theme. At the moment I’m working on Easter BPs, including a delectable one with those chocolate eggs that are so hard to resist. Stay tuned for the next installment: Easter bread pudding.

(Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2003)
2 cups half & half
6 tablespoons Irish cream liqueur
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water
Bread pudding:
10 cups 3/4-inch cubes French bread with crust
6 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 ounces Ghiardelli’s white chocolate chips
4 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
For sauce: Bring cream, liqueur, sugar, and vanilla to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Mix cornstarch and 2 teaspoons water in small bowl to blend; whisk into cream mixture. Boil until sauce thickens, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Cool, then cover and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)
For bread pudding: Combine bread, chocolate, and white chocolate in large bowl; toss to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, and vanilla in another large bowl to blend. Gradually beat in 1 1/2 cups cream and milk. Add cream mixture to bread mixture; stir to combine. Let stand 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish with nonstick spray. Transfer bread mixture to prepared dish, spreading evenly. Drizzle with remaining 1/2 cup cream. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake pudding until edges are golden and custard is set in center, about 1 hour. Cool pudding slightly.
Drizzle bread pudding with sauce and serve warm.
Bon Appétit, November 2003
You can view the complete recipe online at:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bread pudding is all you need

There are some days when all you need in life is bread pudding.

It’s soft, it’s warm, it’s comforting, and it doesn’t demand anything of you but that you enjoy it. Bite into its crusty topping, then let your tongue savor the gentle custardy innards. And if you’re lucky, you’ll discover a delightful surprise inside – such as chopped pralines, or fresh raspberries, or sinful chunks of dark chocolate chips. Just for starters.

Bread pudding has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a way to use up stale bread. Now we find BPs on the menus of trendy restaurants, all dolled up with fancy liqueur sauces and dreamy toppings. But you can have so much fun creating BPs in your own kitchen, tossing in this-and-that from your shelf and fridge.

And if anyone questions you about its food value, you can assure them that bread pudding contains most of what we consider the important food groups, such as wheat, dairy, protein, and fruit. If I must consume these dietary essentials, however, I’d prefer them, thank you, in a mouth-watering bread pudding, rather than in a granola bar, broccoli casserole, or bean soup.

This is the first installment of my blog, Bread Pudding All Day. I could indeed consume bread pudding every day (and sometimes I do, even for breakfast). I plan to post a new article at least once a week, with recipes and creative ways to embrace bread pudding. BP in the oven, BP in the slow cooker, BP in the microwave, BP even on the grill. Please join me in this bread pudding party – you won’t go away hungry!

This Fresh Raspberry Bread pudding, which I created a couple of years ago, is still one of my very favorites – its fresh, fruity fragrance fills the house with a tantalizing aroma while it’s baking. So now I’m going to escape to the kitchen to take it out of the oven. It’s ready. Yes!!


3 eggs
1/2 cup, plus heaping teaspoon sugar
2 cups milk
4 cups cubed day-old French or Italian bread
3/4 cup fresh raspberries (see note)
I tablespoon butter

With electric mixer, beat eggs until foamy. Beat in 1/2 cup sugar. Stir in milk. Place bread cubes in buttered or cooking-sprayed 1-1/2- to 2-quart baking dish or soufflé pan (or 9-inch baking dish). Pour egg mixture over bread. Scatter berries over top of bread, pushing down into mixture. Dot with slivers of butter and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake in 400-degree F. oven 45-50 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm with whipped cream or topping. Serves 6-8.
(Note: You can use frozen raspberries. Do not thaw before adding.)
© 2008, Recipe by Portia Little.