This recipe is the definition of flexibility- use any day-old, neutral-tasting bread you have, whether it’s an eggy bread like brioche or a simple white country bread. (If the crusts are very tough, remove them.) You could even take this to the next level and use day-old croissants. Berries are wonderful here, but you can also use chopped peaches or plums, or leave out the fresh fruit entirely and add a handful or two of dried fruit or chocolate chips.
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours (includes cooling time)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar, plus more for the baking dish and sprinkling
- 4 large eggs
- Kosher salt
- 2 cups half-and-half (or 1 cup milk, 1 cup cream)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 8 cups cubed day-old brioche or country bread (about 16 ounces)
- 1 1/2 cups mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, and/or blackberries)
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with the butter, and sprinkle with sugar to coat. Beat the eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, vanilla, and almond extract until smooth. Add the bread cubes, and press them down to submerge. Let the bread soak in the custard for 15 minutes.
Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Pour the bread and custard into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the berries. Sprinkle the almonds over the berries, and top with a dusting of sugar.
Set the baking dish in a roasting pan, and pour in boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake until the top is puffed and the bread pudding is just set, about 1 hour. It should still be slightly jiggly in the center. Remove from the oven, and let it cool for 30 minutes in the roasting pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.