Show of hands: who loves baguettes?
We are a baguette loving family. They’re so versatile, and I use them all the time; freshly sliced for wine and cheese nights, bias cut for garlic bread, lengthwise for sandwiches, stale for breadcrumbs or panzanella (Italian bread salad), or cubed for bread pudding. Most weeks we have a couple of aging partial loaves on the counter, and while they may look gorgeous sitting next to the toaster, I have a fiery internal bread conscience that drives me to use them and not let them go to waste.
One of my favorite ways to use them up is to make bread pudding. The words sound weird together, like fish cakes or mincemeat pie (it’s fruit, not meat). I’d never had it until I moved from the Midwest to rural Virginia, and even then I was skeptical.
I’m a changed woman.
Almost any kind of bread can be used. You can go savory or sweet, hot or cold, and for any meal. Whatever odds and ends or going-bads you have laying around in the kitchen, you can make a bread pudding.
Some combinations I’ve made:
Pumpkin and pecan
Cranberry and almond
Apple and cinnamon
Green apple and prune
Pear and ginger
Rum soaked raisin
Raspberry and dark chocolate
That last one? That’s today’s special. Plump ruby red raspberries with dark chocolate pieces dotted in golden bread cubes that have been baked in warm vanilla custard.
All from some stale bread. On board?
- 8 c stale bread, cut into 1 in cubes (approximately one baguette, or most of a French bread loaf)
- 3 c milk (I use whole or 2%)
- 1 c granulated sugar
- 1/2 c brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 6 oz (1 pkg) raspberries, divided
- 1/2 c chocolate chips (I use dark or semi-sweet, use what you prefer), divided
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Coat a 9x13 casserole dish with nonstick spray.
Toss the cubed stale bread into a large bowl. Pour the milk over the bread, stir to distribute, set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk sugars, eggs, and vanilla.
Pour soaked bread cubes into the casserole dish and spread out evenly.
Sprinkle half of the raspberries and half of the chocolate chips over the bread.
Drizzle the sugar mixture over the bread and berries.
Sprinkle remaining berries and chocolate chips on top.
Bake for 35-40 min, until the edges and top are slightly golden and it feels set in the middle.
Let cool 10-15 min.
Eat warm or at room temperature. Or cold. Or inside, outside, upside down. Leftovers go in the fridge.