Maple Bacon Bread Pudding
Well this has been an exciting week. First, the Seahawks totally dominate the Superbowl and now we have a small blizzard on our hands. This calls for a seriously awesome warm dessert. Actually, what day doesn’t???
But when classes get cancelled and life is just swell, magic tends to happen in the kitchen.
That magic being in the form of this bread pudding today. It’s a smile-putter-onner!!!
Start by frying up some thick-cut bacon until crispy. Do you prefer your bacon crispy or . . . uh . . . not so crispy? I prefer a crunch!!! Anyway, once it’s cooked, let it cool enough so you can handle it without singeing your fingertips.
Then chop it all up and set it aside for now. Fight the urge to pop the bacon in your mouth with all your might!!!
Grab the loveliest, crustiest loaf of Italian bread you can find in the grocery store and slice it into 1-inch cubes by cutting each 1-inch slice into lengthwise 1-inch strips and then cutting those strips into 1-inch cubes. Who knew there was geometry in baking?
Arrange the bread cubes in a greased, 9×13 baking pan. Sprinkle the bacon bits on top and then get to work on the maple custard!
Do this by whisking together eggs, milk, half ‘n half, vanilla, maple flavoring, melted butter, and sugar. Has anyone ever made a maple flavored ice cream? Was that a light bulb that just flicked on over my head?
Pour the custard all overrrrr the bread until the whole thing is well-soaked. Aim to drench every single bread cube until there’s not a dry crumb in sight! “And SNAP! The job’s a game!” (Name that movie!)
Bake at 325 for 1 hour until the bread is perfectly golden brown. Isn’t cool how you dump a bunch of liquid on top and the bread just SOAKS it all up?! Science. . .
Immediately after taking the bread pudding out of the oven, drizzle maple syrup all over the top.
Scoop out a nice, hearty pile of pudding and then douse it again with extra maple syrup. I think what makes bread pudding so good is the way the top stays crisp and toasty while the bottom becomes soft and melt-in-your-mouth amazing. Who invented such a charming dessert???
I must admit: growing up, I had a bad experience with bread pudding. My 3rd-grade teacher made it for my class and, when I tried it, I found it to be goopy and wiggly and flavorless. No disrespect teach! However, I was brave enough to give it another chance recently, this time trying a salted caramel version at a Pullman restaurant and, thus, was redeemed! But I can honestly say that this here bread pudding is now my favorite. It has the perfect texture and flavor and I could eat it for daysssss; which, because there’s now 8 inches of snow outside my house, I just might!
Maple Bacon Bread Pudding
Source: All Things Sweet original recipe
Yield: Serves 12
1 loaf Italian or other artisanal bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
5 slices thick-cut bacon
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups half ‘n half
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. maple flavoring
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 cups sugar
Maple syrup, for serving
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cook the bacon slices in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crispy. Let cool to warm, then chop bacon into small pieces. Beat together eggs, milk, half ‘n half, vanilla, maple flavoring, and butter. Add sugar and mix until sugar is dissolved. Arrange bread cubes tightly in a greased 9×13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the chopped bacon evenly over the top. Pour the milk mixture slowly all over the bread. Bake for 1 hour, or until crust is golden brown all over the top. Drizzle maple syrup all over the top of the bread pudding as soon as it comes out of the oven. Serve warm with extra maple syrup on the side for drizzling.