I’m not a bread pudding fan, nor a fruit cake fan, but this recipe is amazing. It is the best of both bread pudding and fruit cake, without the things I really dislike about either one. This is moist and real, pungent and fruity, complex but humble, and an awesome flavor explosion you’ll return to again and again.
It is perfect for pre-holiday company; it feels like fall and the holidays, without stealing the thunder of fancier main event desserts to come. This stuff is better the next day, and in the bottom photo you can see how my crew snacks on it. It is a down-home revelation, and like most, takes some time, but is not at all difficult, if you just give it a try.
We don’t eat much bread, especially white bread, so I used a half loaf from the freezer left over BLT’s on Labor Day. This is a brilliant use for stale, leftover, or frozen bread, but this recipe is also good enough to buy some bread specifically to use to make this with.
Yum, you’ll be so glad you tried it! Wow.
Fruity Bread Pudding Recipe
10 good sized slices of 2 day old stale organic white bread (18 ounces worth)
1 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
1 cup organic raisins
1 cup dates, pitted and chopped
2 Tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
1 heaping teaspoon freshly grated tangerine zest
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups organic whole milk
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 heaping Tablespoons orange marmalade
1 Tablespoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioner’s sugar for topping
Cut the bread in cubes and place in a large, low flat dish (different than the one you will bake it in). Add the dried cranberries, raisins, dates, orange zest, tangerine zest, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and toss to combine.
In a large bowl whisk together the milk, orange juice, marmalade, almond extract, and vanilla extract. Add to the bread mixture and use your hands to mix well. Cover and let soak for 1 hour at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Line a 9″ x 11″ x 2″ baking dish with parchment paper.
Get your hands in the mushy stuff you’ve been soaking, and work it through your fingers, breaking it all into smaller bits. Then spread the mixture evenly in the lined baking dish. Bake for 65 – 75 minutes, until the top is firm but springy, and a tooth pick comes out mostly clean. Turn off the oven, but leave it inside for 30 minutes more before taking it out.
Take the pudding out and allow to cool for 30 minutes before sprinkling with confectioner’s sugar and cutting into pieces to serve. Enjoy!