As much as I like bread pudding, I seldom eat it. It’s too much after dinner – too rich, too heavy, too many calories.
For breakfast, though, it’s perfect.
Admittedly, this idea didn’t originate with me. While researching my new book, Pudding: A Global History, I discovered that bread pudding has long been served for breakfast. Not that anyone calls it bread pudding in the morning. For no reason I can explain, it travels under various aliases early in the day. It’s called baked French toast or breakfast strata or morning casserole. But like a rose by another name, it’s still bread pudding.
It’s still made with bread, eggs beaten up with milk, a flavoring like cinnamon or nutmeg, possibly sugar, and something else. The something else might be raisins, bananas, or coconut in winter. In early spring, it could be rhubard. In summer, strawberries, blueberries, sliced peaches or plums. Apples or pears take their place in autumn.
Some cooks tuck crisp bits of bacon or slices of ham and cheese among the bread slices making it a savory dish. But it’s still basically bread pudding.
I came up with this marmalade bread pudding for breakfast because it takes the idea of buttered toast and marmalade to a whole other level of deliciousness. Especially when it’s made with challah.
Not only is bread pudding more versatile in the morning, but it’s best at breakfast because you do all the work the day before. It tastes better when you let the soaked and seasoned pudding rest in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, you just pop it in the oven, put on the coffee, and enjoy.
So no matter how you slice it or what you call it, you’ll love bread pudding for breakfast.
Marmalade bread pudding
8-10 slices of bread with the crust removed. I like challah but any firm bread will do.
4 tablespoons softened butter
4 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup marmalade. Your favorite flavor. I like bitter orange.
Generously butter a one-quart baking pan. Cut bread into slices and butter them. Fit half of the bread slices into the pan butter side up, filling in any gaps with small pieces of bread. Spread with marmalade. Top with another layer of buttered bread.
Whisk the eggs, milk, and vanilla together. Pour over the bread. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down to make sure all the bread is covered with the milk mixture. Refrigerate overnight or for several hours.
In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then remove the plastic wrap and put the pan into a larger pan. Pour hot water into the larger pan until it comes halfway to the rim of the pudding pan. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until the top is slightly puffed and browned. Remove bread pudding pan from the larger pan to serve.