As much as I love the holidays— the nip in the air, the ability to wear all of my cute scarves, and mittens, and hats— there is one thing that I really dislike about this time of the year. At around this point, every year without fail, I always get sick! It’s always the same sickness, too- bronchitis plus a sinus infection. Sounds fun, right? Not so much. I’ve been sick with my trademark illness combination for close to two weeks now. Today I am finally going to stop being stubborn, and go to the doctor so that I can get some antibiotics and get over this lousy thing!
With that said, the other portion of my “feel better” process is this ultra comforting bread pudding! It’s warm and creamy with just enough crunch, and is positively sublime paired with a bit of vanilla ice cream. I call this “Holiday Bread Pudding,” because to me, the something about the scents of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and orange all baking together invokes something in me that has me dreaming of my family squeezed around tables of Thanksgiving, and my siblings and I tearing open gifts of Christmas morning. This is a feel-good dish that will leave both your belly and your mind extremely satisfied :)!
While, in theory, you could use any sort of bread to make this recipe, it would be nothing without the nutty, currant-studed, spiced loaf here (by the way, this bread also makes awesome french toast!). If you have an aversion to making your own bread (like I once did), or simply don’t have the time, I would suggest using Panettone.
Holiday Bread Pudding
recipe adapted from here
- 3/4 loaf of Spiced Orange-Pistachio-Hazelnut Bread (recipe below), cut into 1/2-1 inch cubes
- 8 large eggs
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 2 cups milk (I used fat-free)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 Frangelico (hazelnut liquor)
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- Place the bread cubes in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, Frangelico, and extracts. Pour the custard over the bread cubes, and allow to soak for 45 minutes, pressing the cubes into the custard every so often.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake for about 50 minutes, until set in the center. Serve warm (with vanilla ice cream!). (I find that the bread pudding is tastiest, and easiest to work with, after you refrigerate it. Cutting it becomes much easier, and then you can simply heat up the individual pieces in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes!)
Spiced Orange-Pistachio-Hazelnut Bread
recipe adapted from here
- 3 1/2- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup dried currants
- zest of two large oranges
- 3/4 mixed pistachios and hazelnuts, toasted
- 1/2 lukewarm water
- 4 tbsp + 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup milk (I used fat-free)
- 1 large egg
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tsp salt
- turbinado sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp dry ginger powder
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp warm water
- Chop the nuts into small pieces.
- In a large bowl, rub the orange zest into the flour.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the bread hook, dissolve 1 teaspoon of sugar in the lukewarm water. Add in the yeast and allow it to sit for about 10 minutes, until it foams.
- Mix the egg, butter, sugar, and salt into the yeast mixture. Add in 3 1/2 cups of flour and mix. Beat on medium speed for about 10 minutes. The dough is ready when it forms into a ball and pulls away from the sides of the mixer. Add more flour as needed if the dough is too sticky.
- Dust the nuts and currants with 1 tablespoon of flour and add them to the dough. (They may take a bit to incorporate.)
- Place the dough in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm place to rise for about an hour and a half.
- In a small bowl, combine the sugar and spices for the filling.
- In a another small bowl, beat together the egg with the teaspoon of water.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and roll out no wider than your loaf pan, and as long as you can get it. Brush the entire surface of the dough with the egg wash and then sprinkle the sugar/spice mixture evenly over the top. Fold the long sides of the dough rectangle over just and inch or so. Starting at one end, tightly roll up the dough into a log. Seal the seam with a few tight pinches and transfer to your loaf pan, seam-side down.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and allow the loaf to rise on the top of the preheating oven for about 40 minutes.
- Brush the tops of the loaf with remaining egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 40minutes (if your loaf brown too quickly, cover it with foil).