Do you have an egg, some milk, sugar and old bread? Well then dessert is so close to the table you can almost smell it! What's even better is that if you have a random assortment of things in the pantry you want to get rid of, they just might fit right in. Time to get creative!
We are in the midst of planning a trip to Hawaii to see a dear friend tie the knot. She moved there after college and made the effort to fly halfway around the world to be at our wedding, so of course as faithful friends we wouldn't miss her wedding either...it just so happens that the destination is paradise! Life could be a lot worse right now.
In planning for the trip, we have been making efforts to save money here and there...one big one is to cook more at home and live on a smaller amount of groceries. And tonight after reading the websites and tallying up our top 5 things-to-do list, I was in the mood for some Hawaii in my life. So I looked to bread pudding and a random assortment of pantry extras to bring the Aloha State to me.
And what came out of the oven is my own little taste of tropical wonder. I wish I had pineapple and real coconut to put in this, but that beats the whole game of using what's in the pantry. So this is a White Chocolate Cranberry Almond Hawaiian Bread Pudding with a Coconut Rum Caramel Sauce. ...and although the name itself doesn't roll off the tongue easily, who cares since you shouldn't say it with your mouth full anyway?
This is yet another one of those recipes where if you know the basics, it can be anything and everything you ever wanted...or just be whatever you have in the pantry. I have put the basic recipe guidelines below.
FOR THE BREAD -- Any bread that has that spongy spring-back. (use your sense though, a 12-grain bread with all of its grainy goodness might be a strange texture). I'm thinking French, Challah, doughnuts, croissants, in a pinch you could even do regular sliced bread. In today's case I had Kings Hawaiian Rolls leftover from my Buffalo Chicken Sliders. They say it should be left out for a day so it gets stale and can soak up all the goodness, but if you decide that you want bread pudding and you want it now, cube your bread and throw it in the oven - 350F for about 8 minutes. Congratulations! That just saved you 24 hours of waiting around!
FOR THE THROW INS -- I can't help you here because every pantry is different. Again, use your head, but still be creative! In my case, I wanted Hawaii. Chances are that most of my ingredients have nothing to do with Hawaii, but from the slim pickin's of "tropical" things in my September pantry, I found dried cranberries, white chocolate chips, almonds, molasses, rum and coconut extract. And I figured that was close enough for me.
Basic Bread Pudding
Makes 4 ramekins or an 8x8 pan.
- 4 cups of torn, day-old bread
- 1/2 Stick Unsalted Butter
- 1 Cup Skim Milk
- 1 Egg
- 1/4 Cup Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon (or nutmeg, or 1/4 tsp of both!)
- Sugar for sprinkling
If your bread has not been set out for a day, tear or cube the bread, place it on an ungreased baking sheet and put it in a preheated 350F oven for about 8 minutes, or until lightly toasted.
In a pot, melt the butter into the milk over low heat until butter is melted and the mixture is luke warm. Remove from heat.
While butter and milk are melting, beat the egg and 1/4 Cup sugar and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl until well combined. Add the bread, carefully stirring the cubes to coat them with the egg mixture. Add the milk and butter mixture and gently stir. Pour into a greased 8"x8" pan or divide into 4 ramekins. Sprinkle tops with sugar and bake at 350F for about 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when touched lightly. Serve warm.
Any pantry additions such as raisins, chocolate chips or the like can be added in when you are coating the bread with the egg mixture.
Coconutty Rum Caramel Sauce
Bread pudding can be gooey and sweet enough not to need sauce, but if you need an extra dose of decadence, a spoonful or two of this takes it to another level.
- 1/3 cup caramel sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Rum
- 1/2 tsp Coconut Extract
Mix all three ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Spoon with wild abandon over individual portions of bread pudding just before serving.