Our favourite place to go to for bread pudding was this quirky and quaint little shop called Heirloom & Caramel. As a testament to the quirkiness of the place, half the shop was a cafe while the other half was a hair salon. Also, the entire place was furnished with mismatched furniture (picture a pink rocking chair next to a lime-green striped arm chair in front of a glass coffee table with splindy legs). All in all, the little cafe was a strange little comfy haven that existed long before cafes like The Orange Thimble and Open Door Policy became popular hipster hangouts. Sadly, Heirloom & Caramel closed sometime in 2011, leaving a void in our list of favourite cafes. Also gone were its delicious cupcakes of a multitude of flavours, its affordable sandwiches and pasta dishes and most unfortunately, its delicious bread pudding.
Well, when there’s a void, what choice do we have but to fill it with something AS GOOD or EVEN BETTER! Thus, the hunt for our new favourite place for bread pudding began. we searched high and low, near and far, but to no avail! We simply could not find another bread pudding that matched up to the smooth, creamy and oh-so-yummy pudding of Heirloom & Caramel. Dejected but not defeated, we set ourselves another mission: to make our own bread pudding. And so, a new hunt began. A hunt for the best bread pudding recipe we could find that would satisfy our cravings and fill our bellies. After numerous afternoons spent whisking and stirring and broiling and baking, we finally decided on the best recipe (so far)…
Adapted from Joy of Baking Yields a 9×13 inch baking pan
8-10 cups of bread cubes, cut into bite sized pieces (suggested breads to use: Brioche, croissant or day old scones)
1 large apple, peeled and diced
1 cup raisins
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 cups milk (you can use buttermilk for a thicker and creamier custard)
Preheat oven to 150 degrees C and place rack in center of oven. Lightly grease a 9x13x2 inch baking dish. Place the baking dish into a larger roasting pan to make a water bath.
Place the breadcubes and fruit into the baking dish.
To make the custard, use an electric mixer to beat the eggs and sugar on high speed until thick and lemon-coloured (about 4-5 minutes, when beater is raised the batter will fall back into the bowl in a slow ribbon). Beat in the vanilla extract and cinnamon. Then beat in the butter and milk.
Carefully pour the prepared custard over the bread cubes until completely covered. Press down the bread cubes so they are covered with custard.
Prepare a water bath (refer to above link for instructions). Carefully pour enough hot water so that the water is halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean (about 1 hour). Remove the baking dish from the water bath and cool before serving.
Adapted from All Recipes
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tbsp flour
Pinch of ground cinnamon
2 tbsp melted butter
1 1/4 cups whole milk
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Whisk all ingredients, except vanilla extract, in a heavy saucepan until smooth. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and the sauce coats the back of a spoon, 10 to 12 minutes.
Stir in the vanilla extract. Pour sauce over warm bread pudding, or serve on the side in a bowl.