Bread Pudding with Cherries
Last Sunday I made some amazing french toast at home, and I’d never made french toast before on my own. I made the standard egg custard mixture and got one of those whole round loafs of King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread and cut it in half. I then took one half and sliced it into about 6-8 thick (2 inches thick) slices. Drenched the bread and then fried it up. It was heavenly.
I had been watching EatDrinkorDie.com videos and saw how Jon & Vinny (the guys who did the Thomas Egg McMuffin) had done a french toast video, and then right after that the follow-up video was what they did with the left-over bread: bread pudding! I couldn’t believe it – in my family, the perfect bread pudding is still a legend of mythical proportions. We had a relative who made them, and they were so awesome. Unfortunately, that relative died and his recipe died with him.
We live in an age of the internet where recipes are freely available, so I decided to give it a crack on my own. I used a modified version of Jon & Vinny’s recipe, since I didn’t have any Challah bread, just the second half of that Sweet Bread loaf. I took a 9″ round cake pan and filled it with 1″ torn pieces of the sweet bread (left out for almost a week, still sweet and hardly dry at all!) and then doubled up my french toast egg custard mix, and poured that all over top, drenching all the bread and mixing it all up with my fingers (lots of messy fun!). I pulled out about a dozen or so maraschino cherries and chopped them up, and mixed those (as well as some of the juice) into my bread pudding mix (again using my fingers, it’s more fun!).
Here’s the technique I used to make sure my egg-custard mix didn’t scramble or cook unevenly: it’s called bain-marie – essentially a french phrase meaning “water bath” like you’d do in a double-boiler (for melting chocolate or making candles) but in the oven. I used a large skillet with tall sides, filled it with water, then put my cake plate on top of that so that it got plenty of indirect heat on the actual pan, and the dish baked more evenly.
It turned out pretty moist and delectable, but not the same as what I remember from my childhood. I think next time I’m going to use regular milk instead of heavy whipping cream and add in some brown sugar, maybe tweak some things here and there from internet recipes.