I was very late to the bread pudding party. I never tried it growing up, and only gave it a shot in adulthood when someone else had ordered it at dinner. One bite, and I knew that I had made a grave mistake and had been missing out on something spectacular.
Bread pudding is awesome because it is rich and creamy, and vaguely reminiscent of what makes Sunday morning brunch so great - bread, eggs, vanilla, and sugar. Once I realized how great it was, I began to order it whenever I was out.
And then I realized that it's the perfect dessert to make at home, and it's one that comes in handy when you need something Right. Now.
So why is Bread Pudding the perfect last-minute dessert?
1. It's Better With Old Bread
Generally, the fresher the bread you use in a recipe, the better. Fresh bread gives sandwiches the right amount of squish, and makes garlic bread crusty and perfect. There are a few exceptions to this rule, and bread pudding is one of them.
Bread pudding benefits from bread that has been around for a day or two. The harder bread holds up better in the batter and leads to a dessert that has body and flavor. Fresh bread can leave a bread pudding mushy.
2. It Uses Simple Ingredients
Bread pudding calls for ingredients that most of us keep on hand anyway - eggs, cream, and vanilla for instance. That means that you don't have to worry about going out for groceries.
So as long as you have bread, you can make bread pudding whenever you want.
3. Bread Pudding Is Quick
Unlike some desserts that take a lot of preparation and time, bread pudding is super easy to pull together and can be served in under an hour from when you start. And most of the time is spent in the oven.
It's a great return on your investment - almost no effort for a treat that is rich and decadent.
4. You Can Dress It Up
Bread pudding is amazing for its simplicity. But, like many simple things, it also makes a great starting point for more complex things. Bread pudding can be made to be either sweet or savory, and there is almost no end to the things you can use to dress it up. Nuts, caramel, and berries are all examples of how bread pudding can be taken to the next level.
Its versatility also means it's a great way to use up the last bits of ingredients from other baking recipes.
So the next time you need a quick dessert and want to do something different, or you have a loaf of bread that needs to get used, get out a mixing bowl and start a bread pudding. You won't be disappointed.