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


  • 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
  • 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


  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 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.


  • Serving Size: 12