Sunday, December 11, 2011

eggnog bread pudding

I saw this eggnog bread pudding recipe last week and knew I had to give it a try. I happened to have a ginormous panettone on my kitchen counter. One of those impulse purchases, where I knew I wanted a panettone...but somehow I neglected to notice the size of the thing. So anyway, I come across this recipe that promises to turn half of my (huge) sweet bread into an equally decadent dessert-- or in our case, brunch-- and I knew it was fate. OK, fine, I don't need to get all dramatic about it. But seriously, you must try this recipe. Not only because it is so, so easy, but because it's Christmas-y and special and soooo good.

Eggnog Bread Pudding
(makes a 9x13" dish of decadence)

750g loaf of panettone*
6 eggs
1 quart of eggnog (4 cups)
1-2 Tablespoons of vanilla
zest of an orange, optional
cooking spray or butter

Preheat your oven to 350. Butter your baking dish, or lightly coat with cooking spray. Cut the panettone into roughly 1" cubes and place the bread in the baking dish. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, eggnog, vanilla and orange zest (if you are adding it) and mix until well blended. Pour evenly over bread. Let this sit and continue to soak while the oven is warming up. The original recipe has you making a water bath and baking the bread pudding for about 1 hour. You can go that route, or you can skip the water bath (as I did) and bake it (normally) on the middle oven rack, uncovered for the first 45 minutes. Then, I covered mine with foil because the top was starting to brown quite a bit, and I continued to cook it for another 45 minutes. You'll know it's done when a butter knife inserted in the center comes out clean. As you all know, my ovens are dying a slow death, so you can assume that the whole cook time is somewhere around 1 hour...but it could be as long as 1.5 hours, depending upon how pesky your oven is. (Plan ahead if you're having guests!!)

Speaking of planning ahead, this dish can be made in advance either fully baked (and then warmed in the oven, covered loosely with foil) or you can pour the egg mixture over the top and pop it into the fridge, and bake it the next day if you want to wow your family/friends/house guests with an absolutely amazing smelling kitchen. That said, if it's going straight from the fridge into the oven, count on it taking more like 1.5 hours to bake.

Here are action photos for those who like to see the step by step:

*A little side note: panettone is studded with dried fruit and has quite a distinctive taste. I thought that was what made this bread pudding special...I loved the plump raisins and bits of orange rind in the finished product. But, if you think your family would prefer it with plain bread, you can make the recipe I posted above with about 5 cups of French bread, also cut into 1" chunks.

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