Easy Hazelnut Bread Pudding

Thursday, December 26, 2013

It's funny how freeing yourself from the pressure to create actually frees up more time to be creative. Writing last night's post was therapeutic. To admit that I barely know where I'm going day-by-day, and that it's okay to still be figuring things out. After resolving to be more gentle with myself today I've already seen a turn around. After months of wrestling with an idea I've had for my soon to be opening web store I finally had the breakthrough I needed. I've had to keep a notepad document open to keep up with the ideas that have been flowing since this morning. What's that saying about needing to empty your cup in order to fill it again? It turns out I was holding on to more stress than I'd realized.

To capitalize on my ambitions I turned to the kitchen. In the aftermath of Christmas I had a leftover loaf of once glorious French bread from my favorite bakery sitting on my counter as hard as a rock. I couldn't bear to part with it, so I took to the internet. My cupboards in need of some serious restocking I was at a loss. I have a recipe for my all time favorite bread pudding, but that calls for some heavy duty amounts of cream and eggs. In a pinch, I stumbled on this recipe from Paula Deen. After some mild adapting I gave it a shot and it was just the thing for a chilly afternoon. While not as decadent as a typical bread pudding, this recipe is significantly faster to pull together and is a lot more flexible for what you may have on hand.

Easy Hazelnut Bread Pudding
(Adapted from this recipe from Paula Deen.)

2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 loaf leftover crusty bread; cubed
1/2 cup brown sugar; lightly packed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter; softened
1 cup hazelnuts; coarsely chopped

Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease a 9x13" baking dish.

In a large bowl combine granulated sugar, beaten eggs, milk, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Add bread cubes and mix until evenly coated. Set aside to soak for 15 minutes. While the bread is soaking combine brown sugar, butter, and hazelnuts in a small bowl. This will be your crumble topping.

With the bread soaked, pour into your prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle crumble topping over the bread and place in the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the custard has set and the top is a lovely golden brown. Serve either warm or chilled as desired and store covered leftovers in the fridge.

When gathering ingredients for this recipe substitute what you have on hand! The only milk I had left was 2% and that worked beautifully. Don't have any hazelnuts? Pecans, walnuts, or sliced almonds would also be delicious. I served this with some spiced whipped cream, but you could also add half a teaspoon of cinnamon to the crumble topping.

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