About 10 years ago, I had the most amazing bread pudding in New Orleans. Up until then, I had always found it to be squishy and just plain gross. It was an epiphany that bread pudding. Since then I have been both disappointed and overjoyed at the different puddings I have eaten. My mother makes an amazing pudding just using whatever is lying around. Her style of baking was my inspiration for my very first bread pudding, which was kind of hodge-podged together from a couple of recipes and my own noggin. (Note: All measurements are approximates.)
Tropical Bread Pudding
3 small loaves of sweet bread, cubed*
8 medium eggs
1 1/2 to 2 Cups milk
1 Cup crushed pineapple with juice
1 tsp. mango or pineapple extract (vanilla will do)
mixed dried tropical fruit mix (pineapple, mango, papaya), to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, crushed pineapple, and extract. Stir in cubed bread and dried fruit. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan; spread evenly. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until the custard is set and bread is crisp on top. Pour pineapple hard sauce over the top. Serve warm.
Pineapple Hard Sauce
1 Cup sugar
2 Tablespoons corn starch
2 Cups boiling water
1/2-1 Cup crushed pineapple with juice
1/2 teaspoon mango or pineapple extract (vanilla will do)
1/4 Cup butter
Combine sugar and corn starch in a small pan. Add boiling water gradually, stirring until smooth. Add crushed pineapple, and bring to a boil. Cook 15 minutes until smooth, thickened and clear. Remove from heat, and add extract and butter. Pour over cake.
*I used leftover pineapple bread and lemon sour cream coffee cake.
Note: You might want to double the hard sauce recipe & reserve some for additional pouring.
Edited 8-16-2010: I have re-made this recipe using gluten/dairy/corn free bread, So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk in the pudding, and with tapioca starch and Earth Balance Buttery Spread (Soy free) in the hard sauce. It was different, but still very tasty!!! :)