By Shannon Deady
Some of the fondest memories of my childhood are of frequent trips to the local diner with my father. At the end of almost every meal, we would commemorate our trip by sharing a bowl of his favorite dessert, bread pudding. Weary of competing with our favorite diner’s recipe, I never ventured to make the treat again myself until recently. My inspiration to begin again was a loaf of Italian bread in my pantry that had begun to go stale. I set out to give it a second life and save it from ending up in the trash.
Making the pudding with the remainder of the loaf of bread was a fun and surprisingly easy process. In an attempt to cut out a portion of the dairy and added sugars in traditional recipes, I used a lot of substitutes from recipes I found online. My version is also a lot more dry, which makes it an easier snack to bring on a trip to the library when you are craving something sweet. Raisins add natural sugar for a sweetener, but if you’re not a raisin fan, fresh fruits like apples, blueberries or peaches could serve as great substitutes.
For chocolate lovers, chocolate almond milk can be used in place of vanilla and chocolate chips can be used instead of fruit. I used Italian bread in my recipe because I had it on hand, but day-old bread of any kind will do the job, so give this a try before throwing out your loaf. If you are shopping for the bread or want to prepare ahead, some popular favorites among traditional recipes are brioche or challah bread, because they are already sweet.
Makes: 12 servings
About ½ loaf of Italian bread
3 cups vanilla almond milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup raisins or fresh fruit of choice
Nonstick baking spread
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Tear bread into small pieces and spread evenly into casserole dish or baking pan sprayed with nonstick baking spray or butter.
- Place butter in dish and melt completely before whisking into almond milk, eggs, vanilla and spices.
- Once mixed, add raisins, fresh fruit or chocolate chips. Then pour ingredients evenly into dish over bread.
- Let soak for 10-15 minutes before placing in oven for 45 minutes.
- Take out, let cool and enjoy!