Bread pudding has always been a favorite of mine, but it falls into that third category I really like it, but don't make it often, because I need measuring cups and a recipe. Bread Pudding can go well with a cup of coffee in the afternoon or add a little caramel sauce and it is a great dessert. The thing I always liked about it is that at the places that I used to get bread pudding it was never the same thing twice; the baker would take the bread, muffins, scones and donuts that didn't sell one day and throw them into a mixer and sell them as bread pudding the next. As I started to look for recipes most of the ones I found started with fresh bread. Something seems wrong in going out and buying a fresh loaf of Brioche or French Bread then cutting it into cubes and leaving it on the counter over night to use. So I started looking at the ratios of bread to eggs to milk figuring that if I got that part down the rest would come together just fine. What I found was that in most cases the recipes called for 1 pound of bread, 4 cups of dairy (some cream some milk, some a combination of them) and 8 eggs. After those basic ingredients the recipes were all over the place some with chocolate chips, nuts, currants, cranberries pretty much anything seems to work after the base is together, which makes this fun.
The Bread pudding that I made was:
1 pound of bread (I had donuts, bagels and French bread in this)
2 cups half and half (it is all I had)
2 cups milk
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of diced dried figs
Yes I am that guy, the one that doesn't have raisins in the house but does have a big bag of dried figs in the refrigerator. Dice up the assorted bread and set in a large bowl then mix the rest of the ingredients except for the Figs (nuts, currents, whatever you decide to use) and poor over the bread mixture. This needs to sit for a while until to soften the bread if you used heavy bread (like baguettes) you may want to wait as long as 1-2 hours. Now is a good time to preheat your oven to 325 and grease a 9x13 inch baking pan. Mix any additional items into the mess that you have and poor it into the pan.
This Bakes for about an hour and 15 minutes until a knife or toothpick comes out clean when inserted. When it first comes out of the oven it looks like a giant Souffle but it pretty quickly "falls" to what you expected. I am getting a little ahead of myself here... the sauce for this is so good!
1/2 Stick of Butter
1/2 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup milk
1/2 Cup Baileys Irish Cream
a little Cornstarch slurry
Melt the butter and sugar together then add the milk and Irish Cream once that is simmering add the cornstarch slurry to thicken. Let it cook for a few minutes until it is the thickness that you want. When you are ready to serve just poor a little bit of the sauce on top of a piece of bread pudding and serve.