Prep Time: 20 minutes + chilling overnight | Cook Time: 45
I created this recipe for a show on Food Network and it’s the same as French toast, only cooked as a bread pudding rather than fried in individual servings. The topping can be made with peaches or pears or apples, depending on the season. Put the pudding together the night before then slide the pan into the oven when you get up. I recommend going back to bed while it cooks!
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 loaf (about 1 pound) cinnamon-swirl bread, challah or brioche bread
6 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2-1/2 cups milk
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 ripe peaches, pears, or Gala apples, cored and sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
The night before serving, smear the 1 tablespoon butter over the bottom and sides of a 13x9x2-inch baking dish or other 2-quart baking dish. Tear the bread into small pieces and scatter in the dish. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, milk and vanilla. Pour over the bread. Tamp down the bread with a spatula to submerge each piece in egg. Cover with foil, gently pressing down so the foil is right on the surface of the mixture. Refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, remove the dish and slide it into a cold oven with the foil on (otherwise, the dish will crack). Turn oven on to 375°F. After 25 minutes, gently pull off and discard the foil. Continue to bake until mixture is puffed and golden brown, about 20 more minutes.
About 10 minutes before serving, make the fruit topping: melt the 4 tablespoons butter in a wide nonstick pan then stir in the brown sugar. When mixture is bubbly, add fruit and cinnamon and cook, stirring, until fruit softens and starts to look glazed, about 3 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside (mixture will be really hot).
When bread pudding is ready, let it cool for a few minutes on a rack, then spoon onto plates and top with warm fruit.