Do you have a “signature dish” you bring to all the Christmas family dinners and friends get-togethers? I do, it is my secret White Chocolate Bread Pudding recipe. Well, to be honest, it is not my recipe, I was given it by a chef who was closing his restaurant. The chef, Gary Cartwright of Prairie Fire Grille (now closed), was kind enough to email me the recipe after my tennis group dined with him at his restaurant on it’s last day. I have been tweaking it over the years to make it my “go to dish” for holiday gatherings. It is so good that when I don’t make it, people actually get mad at me.
Warning! The Recipe Is Not One Bit Health
The shopping list is pretty easy. Most important, get cheap fresh white bread.
Step 1- Gather The Ingredients For The Topping
Using a rolling pin and large baggie, crush 2 sleeves of graham crackers into crumbs. I usually do this while the sleeve is in the large baggie to keep from making a mess.
Then add to the baggie with 2 sleeves of crushed graham crackers (about 2 cups) 1/2 pound of brown sugar, 1 tsp of cinnamon, and a 1/4 cup of cocoa powder. Mix together in baggie and set aside for later
Step 2- Cut Off Crust To 1 1/2 Loaves Of Fresh White Bread And Assembly In Baking Dish
Grease a 9 X 13 baking dish ( I use disposable ones) and layer crustless bread into 3 layers. Overlap bread for good coverage.
Step 3- Egg Mixture
Separate eggs and keep egg yolks (the yellow part) discarding the rest. My technique is to gently tap egg on the counter, dividing it into 2 parts. Using the shell of both parts I separate the egg white til only the yolks are left. It takes a little skill and practice so don’t panic if you lose some yolks along the way or a little bit of egg white get into the mixture. It is all good. You are going to use a dozen eggs (give or take a few).
Mix the egg yolks together and add 1/2 cup of white sugar and mix till it is bright yellow. Next, add to egg mixture 18 ounces of white chocolate chips. That is about 1 1/2 packages of white chocolate chips. Fold chips into the mixture and set aside.
Step 4- Cream Mixture
Into a large saucepan, add 1/2 quart of heavy whipping cream, and 1 quart of Half and Half. To this mixture, add 1/2 tsp vanilla ( I just add a splash- no real measurements necessary). Heat this mixture until it comes to a slight boil.
Warning- You do not want to “cook your eggs”. Add about a cup at a time, the cream mixture to the egg mixture. Stir it together and melting the white chocolate chips. After about 4 cups, add egg mixture to rest of cream mixture. Stir constantly until white chocolate chips are melted, creating the pudding mixture.
Step 5- Pudding Mixture
Retrieve your baking dish with white bread layers. Carefully pour the pudding mixture into the baking dish with the white bread. Make sure all bread is good and covered. The bread will soak up the mixture, so I pour some, then wait until the bread soaks it up, and pour some more until the bread is saturated. Cover with foil and place this baking dish aside for at least 30 minutes or you can place in the refrigerator overnight ( best results).
Step 6- Add The Topping And Cook
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover baking dish and add topping mixture, spreading evenly. Recover baking dish and place in oven for 45 minutes to an hour. Longer it cooks the more “firm” it becomes. It is your preference. Serve warm. It is great heated up as a leftover too!
I like to carry my bread pudding to events in a cute carrier with warming area. This is mine from Buckhead Betties. I gave all the girls in my family these with their monograms a couple of years back. Great gift for Christmas, birthdays, or weddings.
Enjoy your holiday baking and family gatherings! We will worry about healthy in January.