I don’t think I’m ever going to make bread pudding from normal bread again. Why would I, when doughnuts exist? I never understand why we can’t all agree that jelly-filled is the King of doughnuts, because I find that pretty indisputable. Then again, maybe the fact that the original Cronuts were always sold out daily after their release means there’s some competition. Never fear. When you combine them both in this bread pudding, you won’t have to choose.
Now, just a little disclaimer. These can’t be legally sold under the name “Cronut” anywhere besides Dominique Ansel’s bakery in NYC. But plenty of doughnut chains and smaller shops have created their own versions, and those will work just fine here. Just make sure they don’t come filled with anything. I got mine from a local Dunkin’ Donuts under the very creative name of “Croissant Doughnuts.”
You will need:
- 3 “Cronuts”
- 2 eggs
- About 5 oz raspberry baker’s filling*
- 1 cup half & half
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 Tbs bourbon (or use milk if you prefer)
*You can use seedless raspberry jam to substitute. I wouldn’t recommend using preserves or anything like that for this.
As you may have foreseen if you’ve made bread pudding before, the hardest part of this recipe is that the donuts need to be stale. I know. As if anyone has donuts long enough for them to get stale. So assuming you don’t, begin by tearing all 3 donuts into bite-size chunks. They can be pretty big. Then you have to just leave those pieces sitting out for half a day or so. If you want to make this for breakfast, then I’d advise buying the donuts and tearing them up the night before. You can just lay them in the pan you’re going to bake this in.
Speaking of which, this recipe is what I use for a 1 quart gratin dish. It serves 2-3 people. If you need to feed a family or plan to impress at the next potluck, you can easily triple this recipe and use a standard 9×13 pan.
Once the painful waiting is done, this comes together pretty quickly. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, heat up 2 Tbs of the raspberry filling in the microwave for about 30 seconds or until its fairly melted. Measure out the cup of half and half. Or, if you usually have both cream and milk in the house like I do, you can just measure out half a cup of each. Same thing. Slowly pour a little bit of the half and half into the filling and mix until combined. This is to introduce the temperatures so you don’t cook your eggs. If the filling mixture still feels hot, add a little more of the half and half.
When it is only warm, crack the eggs into a medium bowl (it’ll be easier if it has a pour spout). Add the remaining half and half and whisk to combine before slowly adding the filling mixture and whisking again. Once it looks fully combined it’s ready. That’s your custard base done.
In the baking dish with your cronut pieces, look for any gaps between pieces of bread. Use a spoon to drop small dollops of the remaining raspberry filling into them. You can remove some of the top pieces to add jelly to the gaps in the bottom layer before you do the top. Remember that the jelly-less sides of jelly donuts are no fun, so try to avoid big areas without any. Finally, just pour the custard mixture evenly over the whole thing. Push any pieces that seem too high down into the mixture more. Let it sit and steep for about 5 minutes before baking it in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
If realtors showed houses that smelled like this bread pudding instead of the traditional chocolate chip cookies, they would sell a lot more. When it comes out it has to cool for a few minutes, but you can keep yourself busy in that time by making the glaze.
Yes, I know that the donuts came pre-glazed.But there’s no such thing as too much glaze. Plus theirs didn’t have bourbon in it. Although if you don’t already have bourbon or you want an alcohol-free version, you can easily use milk instead. Put the powdered sugar in a small bowl, then slowly add the bourbon (or milk) to it and mix with a fork to avoid any lumps. Try drizzling it from the fork back into the bowl. If it needs to be thinner, add more liquid. If it’s too thin just blend in some more sugar. Once it’s the consistency you want, drizzle it over the whole bread pudding dish. I find it looks better if you do it in only one direction instead of all over the place. But by all means, don’t let me stifle your creativity.
This, like most things, is best served warm. If you take it to a potluck or brunch you can definitely knock any of those tired egg casseroles out of the water. Let’s be honest. We all know potlucks are just silent competitions. But you can always just follow my lead if you prefer, and devour the whole thing in a day and a half.