There is one thing that I love to do over at my friend Jenn’s house…and that’s cook. Especially a breakfast on Sunday. Saturday we sometimes cook in…sometimes we out. But Sunday…we normally always make something. And that was the case this past weekend after we discovered a drool-worthy recipe on Pinterest…hosted on Smitten Kitchen’s blog. What drew my attention to it was the salted caramel portion of the bread pudding recipe. It sounded divine.
So…I planned it out with Jenn. I’d order the gluten-free challah bread if she could get the rest of the necessary ingredients.
The plan to bake this on Sunday morning was totally on. And that morning, with my ginormous gluten-free braided challah loaf from Katz Gluten-Free ready to slice…we set to work. While this recipe does take some time to prep…it’s worth it. I’d make this again in a heartbeat. And I will. I have plenty of extra bread to use up. So…go ahead…try it. Don’t be intimidated. My modifications were made to make it gluten-free. It didn’t take away from any part of this dish. The texture and flavors were to DIE for.
One word of warning…that caramel can get pretty hard…so make sure you don’t do what we did and throw it in the freezer. LOL!! Lesson learned.
Recipe: Gluten-Free Morning Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel
Time: Prep 30 minutes; Bake 45 minutes
- 3/4 cup plus (optional) 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt or just 2 or 3 pinches of a coarse one
- 10 to 12-ounce loaf brioche or challah bread (cut into slices about 1/2-inch thick and about 3 inches square or round, which sounds really persnickety, but they really do fit better in the pan this way) (I used Katz Gluten Free Large Braided Challah Loaf)
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup mascarpone cheese, divided (1/4 cup for custard; 3/4 cup for serving)
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
First, choose your baking dish. We opted to use a 9-inch round cake pan, which was a squeeze, but we made it work. Other options would be 2-quart oval gratin/roasting dish, a 9- to 10-inch cast iron skillet, a 2-quart casserole dish or 1 deep-dish pie pan.
If your dish is safe for the stove top, use this to make the caramel. If not, use a small, heavy saucepan and place 3/4 cup sugar, butter and sea salt and heat over medium heat. The butter will melt and, after 7 to 10 minutes, the sugar will dissolve and begin to brown. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir with a spoon or spatula so that it browns evenly. The butter does separate from the sugar, but that’s okay. Just continue to stir them together. It will all work out in the end even if it splits. I know…because ours did!
If you’re using a saucepan, your caramel is done when it reaches a copper color. Pour it over the base of your baking dish.
If you’re making the caramel in your dish (like a cast iron skillet), your caramel should be taken off the stove a step sooner, a shade more pale than copper, something of a medium brown; this is because it will continue cooking and darkening for a minute off the stove.
Regardless of what you choose to bake it in, place the dish in refrigerator and chill until caramel is cold and solid, about 30 minutes. Once chilled, arrange the bread slices. Place the heel of the bread in the center and do what you can to fan the slices around it, overlapping each slightly and knowing with complete confidence that even if your dish doesn’t resemble a blooming rose, nobody will care at all. Mine looked nothing like a blooming rose…and, honestly, no one cared.
In a large bowl whisk together eggs, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar (if using; I skipped this) and 1/4 mascarpone cheese (save rest for serving), until very smooth. Add milk and almond extract. Pour this over the bread, making sure to saturate all of it. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes to an hour. You can let it soak overnight if you have that sort of time or plan that far in advance. If you bread seems too high in the vessel to get a good soak, you can weight it with a plate in the fridge.
After the allotted time (or in the morning), take your dish from the fridge. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove plastic from dish and bake 30 to 35 minutes, until moist but not wet in center. Remove from oven and run a knife around edge of dish, loosening bread from sides. Place a serving plate over top of dish (bottom side up), and, using potholders, hold pudding over sink and flip pudding onto the plate. Lift baking dish off plate; scrape any extra caramel from pie dish over pudding.
Serve, cutting it into wedges at the table and spooning a healthy dollop of mascarpone onto each plate.
While the original recipe called for this to soak overnight, we were busy watching Thor 2…so that didn’t happen. The fact that we only let it soak for about 30 minutes in the fridge did not, at all, make the dish any less of a delicious treat. It worked perfectly. So, don’t feel like you have to make it the night before…unless you have that sort of time. Do plan ahead though, because this does take some time. Jenn and I took out 2 of the eggs from the original recipe as we thought 8 eggs was a bit much. I think we made a good call. This cooked up to a beautiful perfect meal. And we all sat and enjoyed it…and kept the leftovers for the next couple of mornings. SO amazing and delicious!!
Yeah…totally making this one again!