As humble, homely and rustic it may seem, nothing beats a classic cinnamon bread pudding and this version, made irresistible by the addition of buttery brioche and dark chocolate chunks, is a decadent and rich show-stopper in its own right. This bread pudding looks and tastes unforgettable, despite being incredibly simple to put together. One mouthful of this warm, custardy, rich and spiced bread pudding, and you'll understand why this baked favorite has stood the test of time.
Measure out all of your ingredients to have them handy. Cut the bread into 1-inch / 2.5-centimeter cubes, aiming for uniform size and consistency. Place the cubes in a large bowl and set aside.
Whisk Eggs and Sugar
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the eggs to combine.
Then whisk in the granulated sugar, and combine until well dissolved.
Add Milk and Cream
Pour in the milk, followed by the cream. Stir to combine.
Add in the vanilla extract followed by the bourbon, rum or brandy, if using.
Then stir in the cinnamon followed by the sea salt. The mixture should be creamy, consistent and thick.
Combine Wet and Dry
Pour the wet ingredients evenly over the cubed bread, and toss gently to combine.
Stir In Additions
Mix in the dark chocolate chunks or other additions of choice.
Let the Mixture Stand
Let the mixture stand for 20 to 30 minutes so the liquid has time to absorb.
In the meantime, heat the oven to 350 F / 180 C. Generously butter your desired baking dish and then coat with a few tablespoons of sugar, tapping out any excess. This will caramelize the bottom of the pudding into a delicious and sweet sticky crust. Then, pour the absorbed bread mixture into the prepared dish.
Bake the bread pudding for 35 to 45 minutes. It should be golden on top and no liquid should seep out when pierced gently with a fork.
Let the bread pudding cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving warm.
Bread pudding is extra delicious served with a generous dollop with creme anglaise, custard or a good vanilla bean ice cream.