I did not discover bread pudding until about nine or ten years ago, most likely because the younger me would have heard the name and thought it sounded disgusting (I am a closet picky eater). One morning I was watching Good Morning America, and a woman had won a recipe contest sponsored by the show, I knew at that instant that I had to make it, and since then, it has become a fixture on holiday mornings in my house. It was our favorite!
Last week, I chaperoned my daughter’s kindergarten field trip to our local orchard, Highland Orchards. They have the BEST apple cider doughnuts EVER! As I sat on the hayride with my friend Tara, the idea struck me. Why not make bread pudding with the doughnuts? I had all intentions of getting to it that weekend, but time slipped away and I never made it back to grab some doughnuts.
Let’s fast forward to this weekend. My sister just happened to mention that they were taking their kids to the orchard on Saturday. I asked her if she could please pick up a dozen doughnuts for me. Who knew this would be the text that would change my family traditions!
Late last night, as I headed to bed, I assembled the ingredients, covered them in foil, and put them in the fridge, hoping to God that I didn’t just ruin a dozen fabulous rings of cinnamon awesomeness. It was the first thing I thought about this morning when I woke up. I popped downstairs and got it into the oven. It was bubbly, and golden, and the house smelled amazing. But then I had a momentary panic attack.
What should I top it with?
I looked up recipes for a vanilla sauce, but the ingredients gave me heart failure just imagining the calorie count. Then I thought of a salted caramel sauce. As I scoured the internet, my hopes started to sink. I was out of heavy cream, and I didn’t have any condensed milk, but then, as if a gift from above, I stumbled upon a recipe by Ree Drummond on Food Network. I was in business. I grabbed a pot from the cabinet and in about eight minutes, I had the best caramel sauce to top my absolutely beautiful casserole.
The result was out of this world. My husband, who can be my biggest critic, was enamored. He asked me what I planned to call it. I told him I wasn’t sure, to which he replied “Ridiculousness”. According to him, it’s the perfect name because it’s so ridiculously good!
So there you have it. My old favorite bread pudding has been dethroned as the reigning monarch of breakfast casseroles. This new outsider has come in, with overnight success, and has pushed out the queen of my recipe box.
Apple Cider Doughnut Bread Pudding
1 dozen of apple cider doughnuts
1 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of half & half
¼ cup of cinnamon sugar (prepared)
The night before (or at least an hour before you bake):
Grease a medium sized casserole dish.
Break up doughnuts into large pieces and place in the dish.
Whisk together the eggs, cream, and half & half.
Pour over the doughnuts, the pat them down with a large spoon making sure each piece gets dunked.
Cover with foil and leave in the refrigerator to soak.
The next morning (or hour depending how on the ball you are):
Remove the foil and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top of the bread pudding.
Set oven to 350˚, and place the dish into the cold oven.
Bake for about 35 minutes covered, then remove the foil and bake for about 10 minutes longer. (You may need to adjust these times based on the depth of the dish)
At this point the top should be browned and bubbly at the edges. The cinnamon sugar should have created a crispy crust on top.
Remove from the oven and set aside for about 10 minutes.
Recipe Courtesy of the Food Network
1 cup of light brown sugar
1/2 cup half & half
4 tablespoons of salted butter
A pinch of course salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Combine the brown sugar, half & half, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium heat.
Stir while cooking for about 5 to 7 minutes, allowing it to thicken.
Add the vanilla and cook another minute stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and spoon it over each serving of bread pudding, allowing it to drizzle down the sides.
Be prepared. This will dethrone your family favorites too!