We owe the thrifty cook who dreamed up bread pudding an enormous debt of gratitude. If bread pudding is a dessert choice, 9 times out of 10, I’ll select it. When I was working, we often had to travel around to different locations as a group. On travelling days, we hurried out the door in order to reach a certain country store before the bread pudding was sold out. The cook was famous for her bread pudding. She’d make it every day from leftover rolls and bread (she was famous for her burgers, too). The bread pudding was sweet and loaded with raisins and sold in big chunks like a brownie. If we were lucky enough to obtain any, we’d unwrap it and eat it like an apple.
My mother, on the other hand, made a pineapple bread pudding that was less sturdy. It was meant to be eaten with a spoon but no less delicious. She would serve it with dinner and we’d help ourselves to leftovers. Nowadays, bread pudding is a popular dessert in home-style restaurants where it’s often smothered in a voluptuous sauce. It’s hard to resist!
My pineapple bread pudding with hard sauce combines these variations into one sumptuous dessert. Use whatever type of bread you have on hand. I used leftover baguette, my mother always used toasted sliced bread. The cook mentioned in the beginning used hamburger and hot dog rolls.
This recipe makes enough to fill a standard loaf pan and will yield six generous slices. You’ll need about a cup and a half of crushed pineapple. I made my own by blending a standard can of rings. The juice was reserved in case more liquid was needed. (I used the rest to sweeten a green smoothie). To this you add a beaten egg and a half cup of sugar (more if you prefer). You’ll want about 5 cups of bread pieces, but it’s difficult to be exact. Depending on the type of bread you use, you may need to add more liquid (the reserved pineapple juice or milk) OR you may find your mix is too wet and need to add more bread. Other additions, like raisins or nuts, are totally at your discretion. I like both and used walnuts for the pineapple bread pudding shown.
Likewise, you have some flexibility with the hard sauce. I used brandy because we always have it on hand, but whiskey, rum or another liquor will also give a good result. If you’d rather not use alcohol, increase the amount of vanilla. Cream gives the sauce an amazing flavor, but milk can be used if you’d rather.
- 5 cups bread (not quite stale is best), torn into bite sized pieces
- 1 stick butter (8 tablespoons)
- 20 oz can pineapple rings (crush with a blender and reserve the juice) OR crushed pineapple
- ½ - 1 cup sugar, as desired
- 1 egg, beaten
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- large handful chopped nuts (optional)
- large handful raisins (optional)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 stick butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (use more if not using brandy)
- 2 tablespoon whipping cream
- 3 - 4 tablespoons brandy
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a loaf pan with baking spray.
- Put the pieces of bread in a large mixing bowl.
- Melt the butter and pour over the bread, stirring until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, mix the crushed pineapple, egg, salt, cinnamon and sugar together.
- Pour over the bread, stirring until well combined.
- Stir in the optional ingredients.
- The bread should be wet, but not sopping. Add more juice or bread as needed.
- Transfer to the loaf pan and bake until set. Start checking at 20 minutes.
- Melt butter in a medium sauce pan with the sugar until golden brown.
- Add the cream, then the vanilla and brandy. Stir until smooth.
- Allow to cool slightly, then serve.
- To store, transfer to a small jar and place in the fridge. Reheat by placing in a hot water bath and stirring until smooth and warm.