How do I love thee fall? Let me count the ways.... The leaves, the clothes, the weather, the FOOD, the deserted beaches(yes, this is fall in Puerto Rico!). Fall just begs for me to make my favorite comfort foods. One of my ultimates is bread pudding. Ok, to be fair, I've got to post this little disclaimer: CAUTION! This recipe will make you hungry. WARNING! This is a recipe you have to invest a little time into. So why bother you ask? Oh ye of little faith(hmmm, something about fall must also make me want to speak in biblical terms), let me illuminate the heavenly blessings that will rain down on your household if you make this. Have you had bread pudding before? The correct answer is NO! You haven't had bread pudding like this. Now, to reiterate, I have always loved loved loved bread pudding. I'll even eat it from all-you-can-eat feeding troughs like Golden Corral. But THIS bread pudding is in it's own category. I made it when I was with my brother this past summer in Indiana, and we had to come up with a recipe that bridged his ideal(crispy-topped) and my ideal(moist moist moist). And, as luck would have it, we had a whole-stinkin-lot of leftover refrigerator rolls we had to do something with. The result was this pudding, entirely more than just a sum of its parts: the sweet eggy rolls melting into each other to form more of an incredibly moist, tender, dense cake than a typical bread pudding texture, with a satisfying sugar-crunch on top. Finished off with whipped cream, well, let me just say, it made my moderation-in-all-things dad go from "Woa! I can't eat all that!" to scraping his bowl and licking his spoon. I'll give you the recipe for the rolls we used first. My suggestion: double them, and then use em to make this pudding a few days later. I know, I sound like the Bread Pudding Nazi today, but I would REALLY REALLY love for you to try this!
1 cup warm water
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
4-4 1/2 cups flour
Combine the warm water and yeast in a bowl and let proof about 5 minutes until foamy. Stir in butter, sugar, eggs and salt. With a wooden spoon, beat in flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough is too stiff to mix(I use my Kitchenaide). Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or up to 4 days. Grease a 9x13 pan. Turn out the chilled dough onto a floured board. Divide dough into 24 pieces and roll each into a smooth ball. Place in pan and let rise until doubled, about an hour. Bake in 375 oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Brush with butter if you like.
leftover rolls, broken up unto pieces
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream or half and half
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla
any large-grain sugar, like raw sugar, for sprinkling on top
Grease baking pan, large enough to spread out the roll pieces to about a 2-3 inch layer. Dump in roll pieces. Drizzle melted butter over rolls. In a bowl, combine eggs, liquids, brown and white sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Pour over rolls. Generously sprinkle top with large-grain sugar. Bake in a 350 oven about 45 minutes, or until set. You can check by inserting a butter knife into the center and pushing a little aside to check for still-liquid egg. If top is browning too quickly, cover with foil. Top individual servings with freshly-whipped cream.