Friday recipe: Rustic Ciabatta Bread Pudding

Almost Fit - Bread PuddingThere are a lot of things that you can do with the days’ old remains of rustic breads. You can turn them into croûtons (there is nothing like freshly made croûtons with homemade Caesar salad), you can toast them and serve with butter and jam (one of my favorites), or you can cut them into 3″ by 1″ rounds and freeze. For poor man’s hockey pucks.

(I have no doubt that although I say that in jest, there are likely a few Canadian readers out there who upon reading the puck idea had a wintertime Proustian flashback of an impromptu game of shinny.)

Editor’s note: This post is this week’s Friday Fit recipe. The idea is to try “real food” recipes that can be prepared on the weekend. If you enjoy this article, please consider subscribing to my feed. Thanks.

Guests have gone

We’ve just finished entertaining guests for a few days, and as a result we’ve got a bunch of random leftovers that are not quite enough to serve on their own but are too good to send to the compost bin. In this case, we had two halves of different loaves of several days’ old rustic breads; one was the remains of a baguette (which I photographed in last week’s article), and one a rustic loaf of ciabatta. The bread was just too good to turn into soil, so we had to come up with something. So what do we do with these two stumps of bread?

My Gluten is my Bond

Enter stage left: My Brilliant Wife, April (I believe it was in our vows that she is to be referred to as such, and deservedly so). Ever the on-the-fly Epicurian adventurer, she looked at the pile of leftovers and decided to make our traditional decadent Saturday/Sunday morning breakfast out of the luxurious pile of gluten goodness. One thing that we typically do is indulge in a richer breakfast on one of the weekend mornings, which often involves ingredients that go well with real maple syrup. I don’t want to think of it as a reward for having light breakfasts all week, as I think the whole reward/punishment cycle is not particularly helpful for weight control, but it does feel like the meal that you get after a hard week in the salt mines.

This week’s recipe is a rustic bread pudding. Bread pudding may be a bit of an acquired taste particularly for those of us accustomed to pancakes – I know it was for me at first. But when you think of it as the same texture as French toast, it takes on a whole new dimension in decadence.

bread pudding in a bowlFriday Fit Recipe #5: Rustic Ciabatta Bread Pudding


1 lg. loaf rustic ciabatta bread (or the equivalent leftover amount of any rustic bread – day old works great)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup apple, finely chopped
8 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 cup half and half
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (optional, but recommended)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoons vanilla extract

Real maple syrup
Cream or half and half

Serves: 6


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Slice bread into 1/2 inch slices and remove crust. Cut bread into large chunks, approx. 2″X2″. Line a large casserole dish with bread, layering if necessary. Sprinkle sliced almonds and apples over bread.

In a large mixing bowl whisk eggs and next 7 ingredients until well blended.
Pour egg mixture into casserole, saturating all of the bread.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until completely set.

To Serve

Serve in a small bowl with a drizzle of maple syrup and cream, or half and half.

empty bowl

UPDATE: Reader suggestions!

Per Christine’s suggestion in the comments, so far: Raisins would be an excellent addition to this recipe. If you haven’t already visited, check out Christine’s blog, Chris’s Coup, here.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it through Digg or StumbleUpon, or subscribing to my feed. Thanks.