If you've ever been lucky enough to be invited to a brunch at my mom's house, one thing you can be sure of is that in addition to a beautiful, whimsical and seasonally set table, you will be presented with an enthusiastic variety of hot and cold foods that will leave you not knowing which to try first. There's always some sort of hot breakfasty casserole, like a blintz souffle or a blueberry baked french toast (both divine), perfectly sliced and concentrically arranged hard boiled eggs, assortments of cheeses, whitefish salad, cream cheese and lox and of course bagels. Many, many bagels... of all sizes and varieties. I mean this in the nicest way, because I love her and her breakfasts, but she is incapable of buying less than 3 dozen bagels at any one time, no matter how many or few people are brunching! Hence this Use-Up-The-Bagels Bread Pudding because not only have leftover bagels been transported to our house countless times, but I also seem to have inherited her over zealous bagel buying gene!!
When my boys were little guys, there were times that the only thing they would eat was a toasted bagel with cream cheese, sliced just so (jeez, what was I thinking--letting them get away with that kingly behavior--their wives will hate me one day!!) but now that they're both away at college for a good portion of the year, there are only so many leftover bagels that the three of us can manage and really, how many can I put in the freezer, only to eventually toss when I unearth them months later, freezer-burned and unappetizing, so this was a dish borne out of necessity, but one that my husband particularly loves! And like all bread puddings--it's easy to put together and can be made the night before and cooked right before you're ready to serve it in the morning--a real time saver!
Basically little pieces of bagel sit in an egg/milk/vanilla/cinnamon mixture for several hours to soften them, along with some raisins or other dried fruit. Right before you're ready to bake it, you drizzle on some melted butter and brown sugar. Yum!
The casserole bakes up light and fluffy and looks so pretty with a little sprinkle of powdered sugar on top.
No one would ever think you're serving them leftovers!! It's a wonderfully comforting and decadent breakfast! And thankfully, because of my mom and her overabundant bagel buying, I'm pretty confident that we'll be enjoying this many, many times times!!
Use-Up-The-Bagels Bread Pudding
Makes 4-5 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes, plus at least 8 hours of soaking; Bake Time: 30 minutes
- 3-5 leftover plain bagels (you could use cinnamon raisin or any other kind of sweet bagels you have--just don't use onion, sesame, poppy or other savory bagel)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup milk (I used 1%-use whole if you want a richer custard)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 cup golden raisins (or any kind of dried fruit you prefer-if you're using cinnamon raisin bagels you may want to omit the raisins or swap in another dried fruit)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Confectioners' sugar to sprinkle on after baking
1. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray or grease with butter. Cut the bagels in half and then into 2-inch pieces. Place them in the pan, arranging them so they're mostly in a single layer--it's ok if they overlap a bit.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs together gently. Add in the milk, vanilla and cinnamon and whisk together. Pour the mixture over the bagels and push down on them to make sure they're well coated. Scatter the raisins evenly over the top. Cover the pan and place it in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours and preferably overnight.
3. Take the pan out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you're ready to bake it and let it stand. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Sprinkle the top with the brown sugar and evenly pour the melted butter over the top.
4. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and puffy. Sift the confectioners' sugar on top and serve immediately.
Note: Recipe adapted from Food.com. I tinkered around with the ingredients and proportions a bit.