Sometimes, I’m just as excited about what to do with leftovers as the initial dish… is that weird? I love having leftover meat and rice so I can make toasty fried rice; salsa and tortillas for melty cheese-y quesadillas; challah bread for rich french toast… and this weekend, it was leftover brioche burger buns for a strawberry bread pudding!
That I ate for breakfast. What?
In my mind, this is no different than having french toast for breakfast. Both have a bread base, soaked in a custard of milk/cream + egg + some sugar and flavoring, then some application of heat to cook the custard and bring it all together. Bread pudding is one of those dishes (like omelettes) where variations of ingredients are endless and presents an opportunity to use leftover, unused, on-the-verge-of-going-bad ingredients that are sitting in your kitchen right now: leftover bread and fruit (fresh, dried, or frozen).
Strawberries have been on sale at my nearby grocery store, and despite it still seeming very early for strawberry season, they have been surprisingly sweet! I can never resist strawberries (the 2 pints sitting in my fridge right now are proof), especially after the winter when I am dying for signs of spring and the coming of warm weather. It’s as if I think that eating spring/summer produce would make those seasons appear faster… And, it seems like I am not the only one who has been buying strawberries recently and incorporating them into baked goods… I think shortcakes may be on the horizon to help me finish off these strawberries!
I made a simple blueberry maple syrup to dress my bread pudding, because I have noticed that I like to suffocate my sweet weekend breakfast foods (i.e. pancakes, french toast, waffles) with the equivalent of a daily portion of fruit. Most likely this is in attempt to trick myself into thinking I’m eating a healthy breakfast. (See, there’s a BUNCH OF FRUIT on the plate.. therefore it is HEALTHY.) This bread pudding is really no different from french toast, except that there is a more custard-y (pudding-like, if you will) texture towards the bottom of the baking dish and a crisped and browned texture towards the top. It is slightly sweet and bright with the fresh strawberries and orange zest in the custard, and a perfect indulgence on a weekend morning.
Bread Pudding with Strawberries
adapted from Food Network
I halved the recipe to account for how much bread I had and I baked the pudding in a loaf pan. I think baking in individual serving-sized ramekins would be great (if I had ramekins) and would prevent funny unappetizing pictures like the one above.
2 1/2 leftover brioche buns, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 2 1/2 cups of cubed bread)
2 large eggs
1 cup of milk
zest from 1 orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup diced strawberries (or other fruit)
- Whisk together eggs, milk, orange zest, vanilla, sugar in a large bowl. Add bread cubes and toss around to coat. Let soak for 10-15 minutes, then mix carefully to avoid breaking up the bread and allowing the other pieces to soak up the custard.
- Meanwhile cut up fruit and grease a 9 x 3 x 5 inch loaf pan. Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Pour half the bread and custard mixture into the loaf pan. Spread half the strawberries onto the bread mixture, then pour the rest of the bread mixture and add the rest of the strawberries.
- Bake for about 25-35 minutes, until the pudding is slightly puffed and browned. Let cool slightly (if you can, I, of course, cannot) before digging in.