Lemon Bread Pudding with Fig & Creamy Lemon Sauce

 

First of all, if you haven’t heard, we’re having a little Valentine’s Day sale over in the Shop–everything is 10% off with the code LOVE, plus our whisks, prints, totes, towels, and extra-virgin and chili oils and vanilla fig vinegar (all the cute pinks and purples!) are marked down!

I had never really had bread pudding until I went away to college. My dad loved rice pudding, so we had that all the time, but he had some very strong anti-bread pudding feelings, so we never had it. When I started working at Kneaders in college, I discovered their raspberry bread pudding and it was a game changer. Even now, when I go back there, I bypass all the cookies and cheesecakes and brownies and cupcakes and go straight for the bread pudding. One of my favorite things about this particular bread pudding is that it wasn’t spiced. Believe me, especially after living in Louisiana for 8 years, I can appreciate a good spiced bread pudding. But their raspberry bread pudding was a completely different beast–still sweet, but with the tangy raspberries and the creamy vanilla sauce and not a hint of cinnamon or nutmeg anywhere. So when I got a hankering for a lemon bread pudding, I kind of used that as my creative inspiration.

Sara and I have been wanting to do a dessert recipe that features one of our balsamic vinegars for a long time. “Ew,” you say. “Vinegar in dessert??” Stick with me here. If you’ve ever tried our vinegars, you know that yes, they’re tangy, but they’re also sweet and syrupy, so drizzling them onto something like a fruity bread pudding is a match made in heaven–the vinegar cuts the sweetness of the bread pudding and in this particular bread pudding, the fig complements the lemon perfectly (although, really, you could use any of our fruity vinegars here and it would be incredible.)

One thing I love about bread puddings (and rice puddings and French toast and all those comfort foods) is that it uses up stuff you already have in your house (you know, back in the day when people used up their food that was going bad instead of waiting for it to turn into a science experiment and then throwing away what was once perfectly good food. I’m trying to be better.) I often buy those ciabatta rolls from the bakery section of Walmart, but they come in packs of 6, so I have to buy a few packages if I’m counting on leftovers and then we inevitably wind up with extra rolls (and they start to grow mold quickly). So it turns out that those are my favorite for making bread puddings, French toasts, and stratas; they soak up the eggs and milk like a sponge, but then they puff up in the oven instead of becoming heavy and dense.

Cut your bread into 1/2″ pieces…

and preheat oven to 325. Evenly distribute the bread cubes on a baking sheet. I’m going to  drizzle the bread with our lemon olive oil to boost the lemon flavor…

but if you don’t have lemon olive oil, you can use regular extra-virgin olive oil or butter.

Toss to evenly coat the bread and then bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven.

While the bread cubes are toasting, lightly grease a 9×13″ baking sheet and set aside.

For the pudding you’re going to need 3 cups of whole milk, 1 cup of cream.

Add those to a large bowl or the jar of your blender and then add 2 eggs and a tablespoon of vanilla (if using blender, just pulse a few times or until the eggs are completely mixed.)

Whisk in 2 1/2 cups of sugar

and the zest of 1 lemon. Reserve the lemon for later.

Place the toasted bread cubes in the prepared pan. Pour the milk mixture over the bread

and stir until the bread is evenly distributed and is starting to soak up the mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight (or at least 2 hours, no longer than 24 hours).

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the covered pan in the oven and bake for about 60 minutes (this depends on your oven and elevation; start checking around 50 minutes), removing the aluminum foil at after it has been in the oven for 50 minutes. It’s done when the top is golden brown and it moves slightly (but doesn’t full-on shimmy) when you shake the pan. Immediately after removing from the oven, slice the reserved lemon in half and squeeze the juice over the pudding.

While the bread pudding is baking, prepare the sauce. Place the milk, cream cheese, flour, and sugar in the jar of a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan and add the zest of another lemon. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened like a custard. Remove from heat and add the vanilla.

Place individual servings on dessert plates or bowls.

Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of fig balsamic vinegar

over each serving and then drizzle warm sauce over each serving. Can be served about 10 minutes after removing the pudding from the oven or reheated in the microwave if the pudding is cold.

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Lemon Bread Pudding

  • Author: Our Best Bites

Description

A sunnier alternative to heavy, cinnamon-y bread puddings, this easy dessert is topped with a creamy lemon sauce and tangy fig balsamic vinegar.


Scale

Ingredients

  • PUDDING
  • 8 cups day-old ciabatta or French bread cut into 1/2” cubes
  • 2 tablespoons lemon olive oil
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • SAUCE
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 ounces cream cheese (light is fine)
  • 1.5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Evenly distribute the bread cubes on a baking sheet and drizzle with the lemon olive oil. Toss to combine. Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven.
  2. While the bread cubes are toasting, lightly grease a 9×13″ baking sheet and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl or the jar of your blender, combine the milk, cream, eggs, and vanilla (if using blender, just pulse a few times or until the eggs are completely mixed.) Whisk in the sugar and lemon zest.
  4. Place the toasted bread cubes in the prepared pan. Pour the milk mixture over the bread and stir until the bread is evenly distributed and is starting to soak up the mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight (or at least 2 hours, no longer than 24 hours).
  5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the covered pan in the oven and bake for about 60 minutes (this depends on your oven and elevation; start checking around 50 minutes), removing the aluminum foil at after it has been in the oven for 50 minutes. It’s done when the top is golden and it moves slightly when you shake the pan (but doesn’t full-on shimmy). As soon as you remove the pudding from the oven, cut the reserved lemon in half and squeeze the juice over the pudding.
  6. While the bread pudding is baking, prepare the sauce. Place the milk, cream cheese, flour, and sugar in the jar of a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan and add the lemon. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened like a custard. Remove from heat and add the vanilla.
  7. Place individual servings on dessert plates or bowls. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of fig balsamic vinegar (available at ourbestbites.com/shop) over each serving and then drizzle warm sauce over each serving. Can be served about 10 minutes after removing the pudding from the oven or reheated in the microwave if the pudding is cold.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 12

8 comments

  1. So do you know Kneader’s raspberry bread pudding recipe? There’s copycat recipes online but I’m curious if they’re close to the real thing.

    1. I had a copy straight from the source once (shhhhh…we weren’t supposed to copy recipes, haha!), but it never tasted as good at home and now I can’t find it, lol. All the copycat recipes I see call for 1 1/2 loaves of bread, but that is a very vague measurement, so I’ve been hesitant to try it.

  2. This recipe looks so good but I don’t have any of your flavored vinegars and was hoping to make this recipe for friends. Is there a substitute I could use for the fig balsamic?

    Thanks!

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