This maple pecan bread pudding is made with challah bread, infused with maple and vanilla flavors and drizzled with maple cream sauce. Because there is no butter in this recipe, the pudding is not greasy at all, instead it’s delightfully rich and creamy.
About the recipe:
This bread pudding is one of my favorite desserts of all time, it is so delicious, easy and foolproof that it has become my go to for serving at our house and also to bring to parties. Everyone always loves it.
It does take some time to prepare the pudding but a lot of that time is inactive, so it’s not actually a lot of work.
I adapted the recipe from America’s Test Kitchen but put a maple slant on it by adding maple syrup to the custard and making a maple cream sauce to go with it.
What I love about this recipe is that it uses only egg yolks, rather than whole eggs, which makes for an extra smooth and creamy custard.
This bread pudding makes 8 servings, which makes it a great dessert for a Thanksgiving or Christmas gathering.
What type of bread is best to use?
The only bread that works in this recipe is challah bread. Unfortunately, I’ve found that it’s not easy to find challah in the store anymore but the good news is that it’s actually not difficult to bake a nice challah loaf yourself.
The best challah recipe I know of is this one from The Kitchn: How To Make Challah Bread. I have made it many times and it worked perfectly every time. And since you know you’re going to cut the loaf into little cubes you don’t need to bother with the braiding, I always just make one big plain loaf.
What type of baking pan is best to use?
You can use either a glass or a nonstick metal baking pan for this recipe. Bread pudding is a “wet” baked good and those are traditionally baked in glass pans but nonstick metal pans such as what I used here work equally well. You don’t have to grease the pans (regardless of which material you use), just transfer the bread/custard mix straight in.
For the custard:
- Be sure to use real maple syrup for this recipe, not any imitations.
For the bread filling:
- You have to use challah bread for this recipe, no other type of bread will work. You will need almost one entire loaf of bread.
For the sauce:
- Just like for the custard, be sure to use real maple syrup for this sauce, not any imitations.
How to make the bread pudding:
Step 1. Add 9 egg yolks, 3/4 cup sugar and 4 teaspoons vanilla extract to a large bowl.
Step 2. Whisk until smooth.
Step 3. Whisk in 2 1/2 cups heavy cream, 2 1/2 cups whole milk and 1/4 cup maple syrup.
Step 4. Add 10 cups bread cubes to the custard, cover and let the bread soak up the custard for 30 minutes in the fridge.
Step 5. Heat the oven to 325 degrees F., then carefully stir 1 cup roughly chopped pecans into the bread/custard mix. Transfer the soaked bread cubes along with any remaining custard into one or two baking pans. (You can use either one 9″ x 13″ or two 8″ x 8″ baking pans.)
Bake until no liquid remains in the center when you push down on the surface (about 50 min., regardless of which type of pan(s) you use).
How to make the cream sauce:
Step 1. Mix 1 cup heavy cream and 1/3 cup maple syrup together in a saucepan and bring to a low simmer. Simmer, stirring continuously, until you have a thick and creamy sauce (10 to 15 min.). Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.
How to serve:
Serve this bread pudding warm and drizzle with the cold sauce. Be sure to add the sauce on right at the table and not before; if the sauce sits on the pudding for too long, it’ll make it soggy.
How to reheat:
If you have bread pudding left over that you want to eat the next day (or if you want to make it ahead), you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge and then warm it up for a few seconds in the microwave before serving.
Can I freeze the bread pudding?
Yes, this bread pudding freezes very well. Let it cool down after baking, then cut it into sections or individual portions, transfer them to freezer bags and place in the freezer.
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Maple Pecan Bread Pudding
For the pudding:
- 9 egg yolks
- ¾ cups sugar
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup maple syrup*
- 2 ½ cups heavy cream
- 2 ½ cups milk
- 10 cups bread cubes (1-inch) from challah bread
- 1 cup roughly chopped pecans
For the maple cream sauce:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ⅓ cup maple syrup*
For the pudding:
- Whisk the yolks with the sugar and vanilla in a large bowl.
- Whisk in the maple syrup, the cream and the milk.
- Add the bread cubes to the custard, cover and let soak for 30 minutes in the fridge.
- Heat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Carefully stir in the pecans, then transfer the soaked bread cubes along with any remaining custard into the baking pan(s).**
- Bake the bread pudding until no liquid remains in the center when you push down on the surface (about 50 minutes, regardless of which type and size of pan you use). Let cool a bit.
For the maple cream sauce:
- Combine cream and maple syrup in a saucepan, bring to a low simmer and stir continuously with a wooden spoon on medium-low heat until thickened (10 to 15 minutes). Let cool, then refrigerate.
- Serve the bread pudding warm and pour the cold maple cream sauce on it right before serving.***