Is it breakfast or is it dessert? I don’t know, I suppose that’s up to you but bread pudding (for those of you who don’t know) is pretty much like french toast but in a casserole. It’s pretty amazing. This bread pudding is based off of memories of the bread pudding that my mom would make when we were children. Because she is the original Budget Byter, she probably made it just to use up stale bread. Me, I make it because it’s delicious.
Now, there are many many versions of bread pudding, some of which are down right decadent. The really bad for you yet delicious recipes use a lot of egg, cream and butter to make their custardy goodness but because I’m a good girl, I lightened it up a bit. I used 2% milk, only two eggs, reduced the sugar some and used “no sugar added” apple sauce. If you like it really sweet, use regular apple sauce and you’ll be good. I also don’t like my bread pudding too soggy so I increased the bread to custard ratio to soak up more liquid. If you like really gooey, custardy bread pudding, try using half to 3/4 the amount of bread that I have listed here.
I think I cleaned this recipe up pretty good so that it could possibly qualify as a decent breakfast. It has bread, milk, eggs, fruit… all components of a healthy breakfast. Add a couple chopped nuts in there for protein and I’d give it a gold star!
Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding
- 1 lg. loaf french bread $1.39
- 2 cups milk $0.75
- 2 large eggs $0.24
- 2 cups apple sauce, divided $0.66
- ⅓ cup sugar $0.06
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon $0.10
- 1 small lemon, zested $0.25
- 2 Tbsp butter (optional) $0.10
- 1 cup raisins (optional) $0.62
- as needed non-stick spray $0.05
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Cut the loaf of french bread into one inch chunks. If it is stale already, move onto the next step. If it is fresh, spread it out on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, stirring once. This will remove some of the moisture from the bread allowing it to soak up the custard mixture.
- While your bread is in the oven drying out, prepare the custard. In a large bowl whisk together the milk, eggs, 1 cup of apple sauce, cinnamon, sugar and lemon zest. Whisk until well combined.
- Spray the interior of a glass casserole dish with non-stick spray (I used a large 9×11 dish. You can use an 8×8 to make a deeper/taller bread pudding). Fill the baking dish with the bread chunks, pressing down if needed.
- Pour the custard liquid over the bread chunks as evenly as possible. Sprinkle the raisins over top of the bread chunks and give it a gentle stir to evenly distribute the raisins and custard. Drop chunks of butter on top if desired (2 Tbsp total). You can add the second cup of apple sauce on top before baking (drop dollops of it on top and wiggle it down between bread chunks) or you can add it after baking. I like to add it cold after baking because I like the temperature contrast.
- Bake the bread pudding at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve hot.
Step By Step Photos
I used an entire large loaf of french bread. Use 1/2 or 3/4 if you like a wetter, gooier bread pudding.
Cut the bread into one inch chunks and dry them out in the oven (while it preheats to 325 degrees).
While the bread is drying out, combine the ingredients for the custard. Whisk together the milk, eggs, 1 cup of apple sauce, sugar, cinnamon and lemon zest.
This is what it will look like all mixed. It is still very liquidy but it sets up as it bakes.
Place the bread chunks in a glass casserole dish and pour the custard mix over top. Add the raisins and give it all a gentle stir to make sure that all of the chunks of bread get some liquid. Add small chunks of butter to the top and/or the rest of the apple sauce.
Bake the bread pudding for approximately 45 minutes at 325 degrees. The pudding should be solid yet still very moist when finished. Plate the bread pudding with powdered sugar, apple sauce, whipped cream… or even ice cream if eating as a dessert!!
I didn’t check the price per cup of raisins before adding them to the recipe because I was just trying to use up some left overs from my cupboard. Making the recipe without the raisins will significantly cut the cost. Unless you can get them on the cheap somewhere.
Also, if you don’t like lemon or don’t want to buy one just for the zest, you can substitute vanilla extract for it instead (1 tsp). The lemon gives this dish a very light fresh taste but if you like creamy and vanilla, you’d probably do better with the vanilla extract. It’s your call!
Any hearty bread can be used in this recipe but please don’t use white sandwich bread. It will most likely disintegrate.