Bread pudding is an old Southern staple dessert made with soaked, eggy bread and dried fruits. Soaking raisins in rum extract gives this raisin bread pudding a fun flavor profile to enjoy with toffee sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
My baby turns 1 today. How in the world did this happen?! Time flew by too fast. As I was thinking about how I wanted to commemorate his first birthday, I remembered something that I neglected to fulfill while my saintly mom stayed with us for a few weeks.
My mom was effortlessly making French toast for us one morning out of a loaf of Texas toast; oh yeah! This was going to be amazing. As she and I were chatting and she, being the mom, asked me how I was feeling, she mentioned how she had never made bread pudding but always wanted to. She knew that I had made it several times and that each time it was met with applaud from my husband. I told her that whatever bread was leftover, I would show her how to make bread pudding.
Well that time passed and my mom finally had to go back to work. You guys, I never showed my mom how to make bread pudding while she stayed with us and took care of me! What a bum I am. In honor of my beautiful boy turning one and thinking on that cherished time I got to spend with my mom, learning my new role as a mom, I felt this recipe was only appropriate.
Bread pudding might sound weird at first because it’s pudding and there’s bread involved. But this isn’t like that pudding in the cup stuff mixed with bread; how weird would that be. Instead, it’s soaked bread with an uncooked custard with cinnamon and soaked raisins. Some people use different dried fruits and seasonings for their bread pudding but this is the way to go!
I love soaking my raisins in not just water to help plump them up.; using a bit of rum extract to infuse another level of flavor brings this pudding to a whole other level. I use just a small amount of the extract and use water for the rest of the liquid to plump those raisins up. If you don’t plump the raisins, they tend to inflate with air when the bread pudding bakes and doesn’t leave them moist. They tend to dry out which is sad.
The world is your oyster when it comes to picking the best bread for bread pudding. Brioche and Challah are both excellent choices; be sure to pick a bread that is spongey and will soak up all the goods. I find that a dense and crumby bread isn’t too ideal for making raisin bread pudding. For this recipe, I just used some of my leftover Yeast Rolls and it worked just fine. What’s more important than the bread, is letting your bread pudding soak for a good while before baking it. Honestly, I let mine soak 6-8 hours… sometimes even overnight. You want that bread to get nice and soggy with all the liquid. This will help to soften the bread and infuse it with all of the yummy flavors. If you can swing it, I would let it sit in the fridge while you slept.
Now that you have a beautiful bread pudding that’s baked, you can’t just leave it right as it is. It needs a sauce to make it sing. I love a beautiful toffee sauce with bread pudding because I feel that brown sugar highlights the cinnamon and raisin nicely. The difference between toffee and caramel is just the color of the sugar used. Caramel uses white sugar; toffee uses brown sugar. Yet the difference in flavors of both sauces are striking! If you are not a toffee fan but love caramel, that would be a great substitute! I would follow the recipe but just switch out the sugars.
To round off this beautiful dessert nicely, you have to top off your raisin bread pudding with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Don’t worry, I’ve got your back with my how-to guide on making ice cream at home if you are wanting to go all out and make this super special!
Enjoy this recipe. Make it for Sunday dinner’s dessert. It’s the ultimate comfort food and God bless the sweet Southerner who came up with this amazing and cherished dessert. And mom, I’m so sorry for not showing you how to make this in person; I hope this counts! Now I’m going to have a piece and mourn the fact my baby is no longer an infant but a toddler.
- 4 cups milk
- 6 cups stale bread cubed
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup butter cubed
- 1 Tablespoon rum extract
- ¼ cup raisins
- ¼ cup warm water
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 cup cream
In a small bowl combine ingredients for soaked raisins and let sit for 30 minutes or until raisins are plump. Drain liquid.
In a large bowl, whisk together all the bread pudding ingredients except bread and butter, making sure that the eggs are well whisked. Add bread.
Add raisins to the pudding mix and mix together.
Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in fridge for 6-8 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan. Pour bread pudding into pan and top with cubed butter.
Cover pudding with aluminum foil and bake in oven for about 40 minutes or until the pudding is set and firm.
Top with toffee sauce and serve with ice cream.
In a small sauce pot combine water and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, until sugar is completely melted.
Carefully whisk in cream and butter, making sure that butter is completely melted in the sauce.
Please note that the time to allow the bread to soak needs to be taken into account of total prep time, 6-8 hours.