Italian Bread Pudding

Italian Bread Pudding

Since the 13th Century, Bread Pudding otherwise known as 'Poor Man's Pudding' has been made to use day old breads and offer a custard style dessert for those with minimal means. Bread Pudding has since become a Christmas tradition for many. Add the tradition to your own gatherings by baking this version of Italian Bread Pudding for the Holidays or any occasion that will be sure to please almost everyone.

Italian Bread Pudding Ingredients Needed:

9-10 Cups of day old bread, cut into 1" sized cubes

(Italian Bread, Raisin Bread or Cinnamon Bread)

4 whole Eggs

1 Cup Sugar

2 Cups 2% milk

2 Cups Half and Half

1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla

1/4 tsp. Cinnamon

1 Cup Dark Chocolate or White Chocolate finely shaved or thinly chopped

1 Cup Dried Cranberries (substitute raisins instead if that's more preferred)

Prepare the Bread Pudding Mix:

Mix all of the above liquid ingredients into a bowl with a wooden spoon for 3-4 minutes until well blended. Add the bread cubes and mix well by hand until well blended. Bread will absorb the liquid as it sits and more as it bakes. Set aside as you prepare the chocolate sauce.

Italian Bread Pudding Chocolate Sauce:

Use a double boiler or create a double boiler with a stock pot 1/2 full with water and place over medium flame. Add a heat proof bowl that fits on top of the stock pot.

Add 3/4 Cup Half and Half or Heavy Whipping Cream

Add one 6 oz. package of semi sweet chocolate chips in dark, milk or white chocolate.

Stir constantly until melted into a smooth and creamy mixture.

Pour the chocolate sauce slowly and gently into the above bread pudding mixture, reserving some of the sauce for a garnish when serving. Mix with wooden mixing spoon slowly and carefully as the sauce is hot. Blend until all the bread pudding mixture is coated.

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

Pour bread pudding mixture into a standard 13"x9" baking pan and set this entire pan into a larger pan. Add a cup of water to the bottom pan to create a water bath which will create a creamier bread pudding, protects the egg temperature and prevents the bread pudding from drying out.

Bake the bread pudding for at least 1 hour. Test doneness when a toothpick added to the center of the pudding comes out clean.

Carefully remove the 13x9 pan of bread pudding from the larger pan of bath water. Cool the bread pudding on a cooling rack until ready to serve. Discard the water bath.

Cut and serve with the following optional garnishes.

Garnish Italian Bread Pudding:

Bread Pudding can be served warm or cool.

Cut squares of the dessert and add a dollop the chocolate sauce made earlier, a dollop of whipped cream and a few sprinkles of chocolate shavings and a side of your favorite creamy vanilla ice cream.

Another option instead of chocolate is to use a few of the dried cranberries or raisins with a dollop of whipped cream or side of ice cream. Serves 10-13

Bona Festa!