Heavenly Caramel Bread Pudding is a decadent dessert that you will love to serve your friends and family.
The Sunday Supper team has joined with Gallo Family Vineyards this week to share with you our love of the Christmas season.
Having been an army family for 24 plus years, we have lived in a number of different places and had great experiences with the many people and cultures that have been a part of our life over that time span.
Some of the most memorable Christmas seasons we have had, were when we lived in Germany. Imagine doing your holiday shopping while walking down a cobblestone road, inside a medieval walled city. Looking in the shop windows, smelling the aromas coming from the Bäckerei. Or wandering through another town, munching on roasted spiced nuts from the cart on the corner (the inspiration for my roasted spiced nut recipe) and listening to the sounds of laughter and music while in the shadow of a beautiful castle. It is truly a magical experience.
The Christmas season has always been filled with family – though that family didn’t necessarily share any DNA with us.
I’ve held countless Christmas dinners over the years with an open door policy and standing invitation to all the young soldiers or couples in our units. They never had to bring a thing, unless there was something in particular they wanted to drink. They just had to show up. When you find yourself in a foreign country, with no real communication back home on a holiday that is all about loved ones, that can be really rough. That is how it was, when we were there in the ’90s. Back then, the internet was just in its baby phase, but most people had never even heard of it. Communication with family “back home” was not what it is today. There was no Skype or e-mail. Letters took a week or more and phone calls were rare because they were expensive international, land line rates.
So opening our home and inviting them in for a feast, filled with laughter and good times, was the least we could do. I’ve always loved entertaining, and those particular meals – I did them for other holidays as well – were some of the most rewarding. Not only were the soldiers themselves appreciative of the invitations, but there were a few times over the years where I was given the opportunity to meet some of those soldiers’ parents when they came to visit, or I received e-mails from them, thanking me for “taking care of” their son on Christmas. Being apart over the holidays isn’t just tough on the soldiers. But it’s equally hard for Mom & Dad who are spending it without their grown child. I know. I’ve reached that phase of life where I too have grown children off in other places – and one of them is spending his first Christmas as a soldier in Germany!
Over the years, no matter where we lived – from North Carolina to Alaska – many of our holidays were spent with our “extended” family. Sometimes it was a big dinner, but other times it might have been a potluck Tapas Party, an Independence Day Cookout or New Year’s Eve fireworks on a frozen pond.
I was at a small gathering of brave army wives on a cold and icy night in the town of North Pole, Alaska, where we got together for a “white elephant” holiday exchange. I literally came home with a white elephant. It was a ceramic coffee creamer. But what was really memorable about that night, was that I got a crash course in what community looks like in Alaska. The weather was brutally cold, the roads were typical Alaska but one of the wives who had never driven in snowy conditions before, slid off the road. Moments after it happened, a resident on the road came by and noticed. But they didn’t just drive on by and shake their heads, no. They stopped, pulled a tow strap from their truck, and pulled her back onto the road. It’s just what people do up there. My husband and I were rescued in similar fashion when out in the wilderness the following winter.
Yes, family doesn’t always share your DNA. Our army family is huge and varied, but loved and cherished. Now that our military life is ending, and the holidays are spent more with our actual family, I can only hope that my own son and daughter-in-law are able to make the same kinds of lasting memories themselves on their journey as a new military family.
Though I do have to admit, I am thankful we don’t have to go through it without the wonder of the internet – and video chats! There’s nothing better than being able to talk to your son face-to-face from 7 time zones away!
Today I am sharing with you a wonderful recipe for Caramel Bread Pudding. When I think of bread pudding, I think of home, hugs and a roaring fireplace. There’s just something about it.
It all begins with homemade caramel sauce. Don’t be intimidated by caramel. It is incredibly easy to make and tastes amazing!
That gorgeous caramel is then mixed right in with the eggs and milk.
Next, torn croissants in a buttered skillet. Can anything be bad if it has croissants in it? I think not.
Press the croissants into the custard with the back of a wide spatula to help it soak in.
And when it comes out of the oven? It would be tempting to take the whole dish and a spoon and run to another room. But believe me, your guests will appreciate your sharing it.
You can top this caramel bread pudding with some fresh whipped cream or ice cream if you like, or simply eat it naked.
- 4 butter croissants
- 1 c sugar
- ¼ c hot water
- 1 c heavy cream
- 1 Tb butter
- ¼ c bourbon
- 1 c milk
- 4 eggs
- butter for the skillet
- optional, ice cream or whipped cream
- To begin, butter a 9 inch cast iron skillet or a 9 x 9 inch baking dish. Tear the croissants into pieces and place them in the skillet. Set it aside for now.
- Place the water and sugar in a medium sized saucepan. Stir them together to a minute to dissolve the sugar a little.
- Heat the saucepan over medium high heat and let the mixture begin to boil. Without stirring, let it boil together until the sugar becomes a beautiful amber color, about 3-5 minutes. If you find that you need to mix it, simply swirl the saucepan over the heat. Remove it from the heat. Immediately add in the heavy cream, while stirring briskly with a whisk. The mixture will bubble up suddenly, which is why you wanted a larger saucepan than you would have assumed for the amount of sugar. When it settles down, stir in the butter and bourbon. Return it to the heat, and let it cook on low for another minute while you whisk it. Set this aside for a moment.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs. Add in the milk and whisk them together. While whisking briskly, slowly drizzle the caramel down the inside of the bowl and into the mixture. Pour this over the croissants. Take a wide spatula and gently press the croissants into the custard to absorb as much as they can. Set it aside while you preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake this in your oven for 20-25 minutes, or until it is set in the center.
- Allow it to cool for about 5 minutes before serving this heavenly dish. Feel free to serve it with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. Of course you could simply eat it naked. That is how I prefer it.
While you’re celebrating Christmas with your friends and loved ones, whether at a large family celebration or an evening party with friends, you always want a good selection of beverages for everyone to choose from. For the wine, I would recommend Gallo Family Vineyard’s Pinot Grigio or the Cabernet Sauvignon. For the white wine lovers, the Pinot Grigio would be a perfect selection, because of its crisp apple, peach and citrus flavors. Because it is lighter on the tongue, and you’ll be eating a huge variety of amazing foods, you might like that crispness between courses. But then again, maybe you would like something a little more bold to stand with those flavors of the holiday. In which case the gorgeous red Cabernet Sauvignon, with its rich blackberry and black currant flavors would go beautifully. When I think of the holidays, I do tend to think of red wine and white snow. Not that there’s much of the latter here in Alabama.
The Gallo Family Vineyards family is committed to helping Meals on Wheels America to improve the health and quality of life for the seniors they serve. For six years now, Gallo Family Vineyards invites Americans to help end senior hunger and isolation with their annual Every Cork Counts™ program. They’re donating $1 for every cork submitted through their website or snail mail. So I encourage you to give back in a great way. All Gallo Family fans have to do is snap a picture, or send their corks.
In addition to the Caramel Bread Pudding, check out all of today’s Sunday Supper Christmas recipes:
- Bacon Pineapple Jalapeño Cheese Ball from Renee’s Kitchen Adventures
- Baked Brie with Cranberries & Almonds from Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Best Bar Nuts from Shockingly Delicious
- Lamb Seekh Kebabs from Soni’s Food
- Mediterranean Turkey Pita Bites from Magnolia Days
- Roasted Garlic Onion Dip from Food Done Light
- Roasted Cranberry Crostini from Recipes, Food and Cooking
- Slow Cooker Queso Blanco with Salsa Verde from Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- Spicy Shrimp and Roasted Pepper Cheese Crostini from Fearless Dining
- Italian Hoagie Flatbread from Family Foodie
- Roast Duck with Mole Sauce from Curious Cuisiniere
- Seafood Cannelloni from Palatable Pastime
Desserts and Sweets:
- Caramel Bread Pudding from Cosmopolitan Cornbread
- Chocolate Cups Filled with Cinnamon Pastry Cream and Berries from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Chocolate Dipped Cheesecake Bites from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse from Life Tastes Good
- Cranberry Orange Walnut Truffles from Desserts Required
- Cranberry Panna Cotta from The Freshman Cook
- Crustless Pumpkin Pie with Orange Scented Whipped Cream from Recipe for Perfection
Plus don’t miss the Seasonal Wine Pairing Tips by Sunday Supper Movement.
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Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards.