Bread Pudding from Humble Beginnings to Best Restaurants

Tours Travel

As a child, I despised certain foods that I was sure I didn’t like even though I hadn’t tried them! Foods on my “won’t eat” list include peas, coleslaw, broccoli, liver, tomatoes, lamb, mince pie, and bread pudding. Bread pudding didn’t sound good to me. As my taste buds matured, I found that I really liked most of these foods, especially bread pudding!

Anyway, to me, the name “bread pudding” doesn’t come close to describing this truly delicious dessert. One of our favorite restaurants serves this golden brown custard with a thick, creamy sauce that makes for a truly memorable dessert. You can even serve bread pudding for breakfast or brunch.

Did you know that bread pudding is an ancient dessert with humble origins in 13th-century England? It was first known as a “poor man’s pudding” as it was made from leftover stale bread that was simply soaked in water, to which a little sugar, spices, and other ingredients were added. We still make bread puddings with bread, but the breads are often made especially for this pudding and the types are very varied; breads such as brioche, challah, croissant, panettone, French, Italian, raisin bread or scones.

Today, we are not content simply to soak bread in water; instead, we use a rich custard mix of milk or cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and spices. Sometimes even nuts, chocolate, fruit zest, alcohol, candied, dried or fresh fruit are added for added flavor and texture. The result is a rich, creamy, decadent dessert that has now made its way onto the dessert menus of many fine restaurants.

Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

1 pound French-style bread

3 1/4 cups of milk

3 eggs

2 teaspoons Watkins vanilla

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon Watkins cinnamon

1/4 cup walnuts

1/4 cup grapes (optional)

Bourbon sauce, follow the recipe

Break the bread into medium pieces. Add sugar and cinnamon. Mix in milk, lightly beaten eggs, and vanilla. Add to bread mix. Place 1/2 mixture in a saucepan. Layer walnuts and raisins, if using. Top with the rest of the mixture. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve hot with bourbon sauce.

Bourbon Sauce

1 cup granulated sugar

6 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tablespoon bourbon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon white corn syrup

1 teaspoon Watkins vanilla

In a saucepan mix all the ingredients. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Serve warm. For bread pudding.

Apple Pie Bread Pudding – Slow Cooker Recipe

Watkins Cooking Spray

3 beaten eggs

2 cups milk, half and half, or light cream

1/2 cup of sugar

1/4 teaspoon Watkins Apple Cinnamon Baking Seasoning

1 21-ounce can thick apple pie filling

6-1/2 cups dry Cinnamon Raisin Bread cut into 1/2-inch cubes* (4-1/2 cups dry)

Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (optional)

1. Lightly coat inside of 3-1/2 to 4-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, milk, and sugar. Gently add pie filling and bread cubes. Pour the mixture into the prepared pot.

3. Cover and simmer for 3 hours until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean (the mixture will puff up). Remove the liner from the pot, if possible, or turn it off. Let stand, uncovered, 30-45 minutes to cool slightly before serving (pudding will fall off when cooled).

4. To serve, spoon bread pudding onto dessert plates. If desired, top each serving with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Makes 6 servings.


To make 4-1/2 cups of dry bread cubes, you will need 8 to 9 slices of fresh bread. Spread bread cubes in a single layer in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake, uncovered, in a 300 degree F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until dry, stirring twice; cold.

apple bread pudding

3/4 cup grapes

1 teaspoon Watkins cinnamon

1/2 loaf good day-old bread, 4 cups cubed

4-5 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

1 cup of milk

1 cup of cream

1/4 cup butter

2/3 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

3 egg yolks

1 teaspoon Watkins cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon Watkins Ginger

1/4 teaspoon Watkins nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon Watkins cloves

1 teaspoon salt

Butter an 8 x 8 square baking dish. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss raisins with cinnamon and set aside in a separate bowl.

Put the bread cubes in the oven for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, to toast.

In a large skillet, sauté the apple pieces with the butter and brown sugar until golden brown and just tender. Mix apples, grapes, and walnuts.

In a small saucepan heat milk, cream, butter and brown sugar until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the eggs and egg yolks. Beat the spices and salt.

Mix the toasted bread with the apple mixture. Pour into an 8 x 8-inch baking dish and pour over the cream mixture. Let sit for an hour, if you have time, to absorb or bake right away. Bake for about 45 minutes or until set. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Served with caramel sauce.


1 3/4 teaspoons Watkins Apple Bake Seasoning may be substituted for the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves in the egg mixture.

caramel sauce

2 cups of cream

1 1/2 cups of sugar

1/4 cup of water

pinch of salt

1/4 cup butter

Heat the cream in a small saucepan over low to medium heat. While heating, add the sugar and water to a large, heavy, high-sided skillet over high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves, then boil until deep amber. You’re looking for a dark caramel here, because you’ll be adding cream, so don’t flinch and remove it from the heat while it’s still pale golden!

Remove from heat and whisk the cream. Be very careful and add the cream slowly – the caramel will bubble violently! Add the pinch of salt and butter and mix gently. Cook over low heat until slightly reduced. Makes about 3 cups. This will keep in the fridge for at least two weeks.

Apple Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce

4 cups soft bread cubes

1/4 cup of grapes

2 cups peeled and sliced ​​apples

1 cup brown sugar

1 3/4 cups of milk

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1 teaspoon Watkins cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Watkins vanilla extract

2 beaten eggs

vanilla sauce

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup of milk

1/2 cup margarine

1 teaspoon Watkins vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 7×11-inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine the bread, raisins, and apples. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup brown sugar, 1 3/4 cups milk, and 1/4 cup butter or margarine. Cook and stir until margarine melts. Pour over bread mixture in bowl.

In a small bowl, mix the cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and the eggs. For the bread mixture in a prepared dish and for the egg mixture on the bread.

Bake in preheated oven 40 to 50 minutes, or until centers are set and apples are tender.

While the pudding is baking, prepare the vanilla sauce.

Mix 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup milk, and 1/2 cup margarine in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Serve over bread pudding.

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