Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cranberry Bread Pudding with Orange Hard Sauce

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I'm probably a member of the last generation raised in kitchens where nothing was wasted, including stale bread and leftover rice. Rice and bread puddings were fixtures of my childhood. Bread pudding, both sweet and savory, has a long history in the annals of cooking. It can be traced to peasant kitchens where frugal and often hungry cooks refused to discard stale bread. The earliest recipe for bread pudding can be traced to a book called "The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy" by Hannah Glasse. It was published in 1747. Her recipe, save for instructions written in old English, is quite similar to those in use today. She adds butter, eggs and milk to stale bread and steams (boils) her pudding to completion. I prefer to bake mine.

I have a sentimental attachment to Cranberry Bread Pudding. It is, of course, delicious, but it's also one of the first recipes I entered into amateur recipe competition. It didn't embarrass me and it's stood the test of time. I make this at least once during the holiday season. The original recipe used croissants. I urge you to use these if possible. The pudding shown in today's post was made with a raisin sweet bread because that is what I had on hand. Pumpkin pie spice is used to keep the number of ingredients used in the recipe under control. That's important in competition recipes, but less so in the confines of your own kitchen. I'm inserting a list of spices within the recipe that can be used in case you don't keep pumpkin pie spice in your pantry. This pudding is packed with down-home flavor and it's a wonderful addition to the holiday dessert table. The hard sauce is to die for - really! Here's the recipe.

Cranberry Bread Pudding with Orange Hard Sauce...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

14 ounces (approximately 7 large) stale croissants, cut into 1-inch cubes and lightly toasted
1 cup dried, sweetened cranberries
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice or
. 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
. 3/4 teaspoons ground ginger
. 3/8 teaspoons allspice or ground cloves
. 3/8 teaspoons nutmeg
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or
.1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
.1/4 teaspoon ginger
.1/8 teaspoon allspice or ground cloves
.1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Orange Sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 2 1/2-quart (9x11 x3-inch) baking dish.
2) Arrange half of croissants pieces on bottom of prepared dish; sprinkle with cranberries, then cover with remaining croissants. Set aside.
3) Combine eggs, half-and-half, 1/2 cup brown sugar, melted butter, salt, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, orange zest and juice in a blender container; pulse until well combined. Pour mixture over cubed croissants, pressing down with back of large spoon to moisten. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
4) To make topping, combine 1/4 cup brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl; sprinkle on top of croissant mixture.
5) Place dish in a large roasting pan; transfer pan to middle shelf of the oven. Pour hot water into roasting pan until it comes halfway up the sides of dish. Bake until the custard is softly set, about 55 minutes.
6) While pudding bakes, prepare Orange Sauce: Combine butter, 1 cup brown sugar, flour, salt, water, zest, juice and vanilla in a heavy 2-quart saucepan; cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and looks syrupy.
7) Allow pudding to cool about 20 minutes before serving. Pass the sauce separately in a sauce boat. Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

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Rachel said...

Interesting read...I love bread pudding of any kind and thanks for a different recipe.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Rachel, welcome to One Perfect Bite. I do hope you'll try the recipe. It really is very good. I hope you'll visit often.

My Little Space said...

This is awesome! Love the use of croissant in this lovely little bake. I'm sure it tastes fabulous!

sunnymama said...

Mmmm! I would love to spend a while in your kitchen. :)

Ginger said...

How could every recipe that you create and post I LOVE!! This sounds incredible and I really think the Orange Hard Sauce is a great addition.


Chef E said...

because I love my husband so much, I am making this for him...I grew up with this mind set of no waste, and heard my father tell of discovering his mother making it one early morning with old biscuits...

Inspired by eRecipeCards said...

I love bread pudding...

hmmmm. makes me think about that loaf of bread i bought a week ago for sandwiches... I made 4 sandwiches, and now I have enough for a small bread pudding for two... HMMMM

Won't be pretty magazine quality, but it would beat tossing.... HMMMMMMM

Claudia said...

I also adore bread pudding. It looks like a lot of ingredients - but a lot are similar. Lots of spices doon't faze me - they encourage me. But it's hard to get a croissant to go stale in this house! The photo is inspiring me to start socking some away.

Bonnie said...

Thanks for the visit yesterday. I love your blog and have learnt so much from the things you share with us.

Beverly said...

I love the combination of cranberry and orange. In fact, I had a cranberry orange muffin for breakfast this morning.

So you know that I want a serving of this.

Joy Tilton said...

Bread puddings, rice pudding and tapioca cream...they all remind me of my childhood and my grandmother who was a excellent cook! Thanks so much for this recipe, it will be one I use often.

Rachael Hutchings said...

This just looks fantastic. I love bread puddings. I personally think we need to back to the mindset of using everything so that we don't create waste.

The Cooking Photographer said...

Wow. I wish I could just touch that book. Peek inside and read the script. For me, that would be heaven. In 1747 recipes were not often written down. It's such a special thing to come across such a book.

I wonder where that book resides.

Your bread pudding looks great, I especially like that you don't waste in your kitchen, and that it has a "hard sauce". I wonder how many people understand those terms anymore.

From the Old InkWell said...

Mary, you are so kind! Thanks for your sweet sweet comment! And another thing, love your blog and even though I don't personally know you I feel like I do and I know that you are one of the nicest people on this earth!!!

Keep sending us those scrumptuous recipes. :)

Karen said...

I think croissants make the *best* bread pudding. The cranberry-orange combo is so good!

Federica Simoni said...

รจ sempre un piacere passare a trovarti! complimenti!

Pam said...

I love bread pudding and anything with cranberries. This sounds so good!

Shellbelle said...

Well, now I'll have to buy extra croissants, they never seem to last long around here and I love bread pudding. Not only are they delicious, they always seem to bring a certain comfy, cozy feeling to me.

Moore Minutes said...

Oh this sounds divine. I know I will have to visit this site often for ideas on exceptional holiday baking. You are very talented.

Unknown said...


i too am a member of the last generation who recycles before this word comes into being

Pam said...

I love bread pudding...this recipe sounds particularly good because of the orange hard sauce.

Hootin Anni said...

I wish now I had had time to visit you earlier I just took a pan of pecan fudge brownies out of the oven....THIS looks so much better than brownies.

Yep, yep....this is on my 'to make soon' list!!!

Katy ~ said...

Bread pudding was often served while I was growing up as well. It's wonderful to see it still being served; as you said, a delicious and frugal way to prepare food. The orange hard sauce really captures my attention. YUM YUM

D said...

Hi Mary,

I'm headed to the kitchen to begin tonight's dinner before the big game (Oregon vs Oregon State)... there is a Rose in someone's future and we're rooting for the Beavers. A chicken fajita should work.

My husband said be sure to tell Mary, "that meal was delicious"! Last night I fixed the lamb as per your Lamb Shank recipe (happened to have cherries in the freezer from a friends tree), accompanied by your easy oven Polenta. We didn't have a Shiraz in the cellar, but an '04 Sirah worked beautifully. Mary, absolutely delicious!!! Thank you.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Di, thanks so much for the feedback. We love them, I'm glad you did as well. We are, unfortunately, on opposite sides tonight. Go Ducks!!!! If the Beaver's get the Rose so be it :-)

Anonymous said...

This looks so good. Oh my. It's hard what to decide to bake.I know this recipe would be delicious and also pretty on any Christmas table. Thank you once again. I hope you are having a good week.

Stine in Ontario said...

This sounds almost decadent! :)

Selba said...

I think people who love to cook and eat should be more creative like you, Mary :)

Sometimes waste food can be turned as a very delicious meal too.

The orange hard sauce sounds so delectable.

Lauren said...

I've never really had brad pudding, but this sounds great - especially made with croissants!

Lyndas recipe box said...

I have to make this this tempting bread pudding! It sounds wonderful, especially with the croissants. Thanks for sharing it, Mary.

D said...

Mary, lol, we are always for the Ducks too, until they play the Beavers. ;) Good game so far.

Jennsmere said...

Hi Mary... you make my mouth water every time I stop by!

Bread pudding is my absolute favorite comfort food...and this one with the cranberries just sounds luscious!

Thanks for sharing!

NKP said...

Sounds tasty! I have only had one bread pudding before, Dorie Greenspan's chocolate one, I think I would like the cranberry one even more.

Historical sites with charmine said...

Mary,this pic of the pudding made me droolWe often made bread pudding at home,steamed.I must make some got me drooling.leaving a messg on BM post.

Deb in Hawaii said...

That orange hard sauce looks wonderful and of course the bread pudding too. ;-)

SmilingSally said...

Mary, I too, remember Mama's rice and bread puddings, but I don't think we ever had such lovely cookies as these.

Mimi said...

I've been scared to make croissants because I know I can't eat a whole batch of them before they go stale.Now I know what to do with them!

Joanne said...

I really like the idea of using up everything in the cupboards and try to do so as much as possible. The fact that this bread pudding looks so delicious makes it seem like even more of the right thing to do! Fabulous recipe. I love bread pudding and cranberries. Even better together than separately.

the wild magnolia said...

Loving all the ingredients, a variety, very good.

billh said...

Your recipe is perfect, except I'll be using Brioche instead of croissants

Cassie said...

What is hard about this hard sauce? There's no liquor!!
Other than that, it sounds to die for.

Manu said...

It looks delicious!!!

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