Every cuisine that has bread also has dishes that make use of stale or leftover bread.
In my household, there is no such thing as leftover bread. Certainly no bread has survived long enough to become stale. So while bread pudding was traditionally made with dry bread, mine starts with fluffy, light fresh challah. In order to make it at all, I try to tear the bread in clumps before it is discovered by my co-inhabitants. (Please note the lengths I am going to in order to protect specific co-inhabitants from public humiliation.) I have been known to mark bags with yellow sticky notes which illustrate the consequences of sampling even a crumb.
But the truth is, I think fresh challah makes a wonderful bread pudding. Especially at this time of year, when I throw in chopped Italian plums (aka prune plums). Or next month, when I add chopped apple and drizzle warm maple syrup over each serving. Or in the dead of winter, with juicy pears, a pinch of ginger powder and a spoonful of barely-sweetened whipped cream. The list goes on, of course, because bread pudding is inordinately fast and easy to throw together and is the ultimate comfort food. Yep, it’s sugar and starch in one easy-to-love, oh-so-easy-to-eat square of heaven.
Now aren’t you glad you didn’t scarf down that bread before I could use it?
Challah Bread Pudding with Italian Plums
You can, of course, make this with 1%, 2% or whole milk. You can even make it with half-and-half or cream, if you’d like. But I’d rather use nonfat milk, just in case it calls out for a topping of whipped or ice cream.
3 large eggs
3 cups nonfat milk
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
16 ounces challah, torn in 2-inch pieces
6 prune plums, chopped in ½-inch pieces
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 11 x 7 baking dish with cooking spray.
- Lightly beat the eggs in a large bowl; add the milk, ¾ cup of the sugar and vanilla and whisk to combine. Add the challah and toss occasionally until it absorbs much of the liquid, about 5 minutes. Stir in the plums and transfer to the baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar.
- Bake 45 minutes, until pudding is set. Allow it to cool about 5 minutes before cutting.
Makes 8 servings
Nutrition for each serving: 312 calories, 12 g protein, 57 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 238 mg sodium