With leftover finger rolls after a large meal, I decided to make bread pudding for the first time. I made many substitutions to a recipe in a Weight Watchers cookbook. The ingredients I used:
4 cups of 1-inch cubes of bread (for a healthier version, use whole-grain bread)
1 ripe pear, chopped
1 cup of frozen mixed fruit (blueberries, strawberries, etc.)
½ cup sugar
¾ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
3 cups of milk (I used 1 cup of skim, 1 cup of almond milk, and 1 cup of chocolate milk)
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp chocolate extract
5 TBSP maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I used a 9x13 baking dish because I don’t have the 9x11 size called for. During baking, the pan is supposed to rest in another (larger) pan of water. I also didn’t have another pan larger than the 9x13 so I used a cookie sheet with raised edges. If you have a baking dish that fits into another dish, use that. I didn’t want to use a smaller dish for the bread pudding to fit inside the 9x13 pan because I’d tried that before with a breakfast casserole and found that the deeper dish resulted in a well-done top and an under-done center.
Spray baking dish and put bread squares into pan. Add layer of fruit(s). In a large bowl, stir together sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add milk, eggs, and extract(s). The original did not suggest the different types of milk and used only vanilla extract (2 tsp). Pour over the bread and fruit. Press down gently on the bread so it can absorb the milk mixture. Cover with foil and let it sit for 30 minutes. Bake inside another dish with water half-way up the sides for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake about 30 more minutes, until the top looks puffy and is very gently browned.
I learned that soft white bread doesn’t need as much liquid as the whole grain bread originally called for in the recipe, so next time I’d reduce the amount of milk or maple syrup (if using white bread). I also could have warmed up the frozen fruit and drained off liquids from the thawing process. The flavor was great, and the chocolate came through very mildly, so next time I’ll add some chocolate chips! The dark berries released their colored juices into the bread pudding- it didn't look very attractive in the end, so here is a summer photo for those in wintry climates now!