Butterscotch Bread Pudding (with really good gluten-free options)
Last fall, I mentioned that I was all set to share a recipe for butterscotch bread pudding when a thoughtful reader emailed me the recipe for her prized beet cake. Like the chicken in milk recipe, the beet cake paired seemingly incompatible ingredients and beckoned me to bake it right away.
The cake was a hit in our house—even with my non-beet-loving kids. I suspected at least a handful of readers would be as intrigued as I was, and the feedback on this spice-like cake was quite good.
I did, however, receive a few requests for the butterscotch bread pudding, and offered to email it to those readers. One patient reader said she preferred to wait and be surprised when it appeared in her Sunday paper…but told me not to forget!
So here it is! (I waited to post it here until it appeared in the newspaper.) The ingredients in this family-favorite dessert vary somewhat from typical bread pudding. Additionally, I have included a few notes at the end as to how I have successfully adapted this recipe for those whom bread pudding would typically be off-limits.
Allowing the cold ingredients to come to room temperature prior to mixing will prevent the melted butter from re-hardening.
- 1 (12-ounce) loaf day-old white bread, cubed or torn into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces (see notes for excellent gluten-free options)
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can light coconut milk (see notes)
- 2 cups milk (I use non-fat)
- 1 cup (8 ounces) packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and butter a 9×13-inch baking dish.
- In a large bowl, combine the milks, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the brown sugar and butterscotch chips, and then fold in the bread. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
- Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until set. (We like crispy edges, so I bake on the longer side, covering loosely with foil once the top is sufficiently browned.) Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature. Covered tightly, leftovers will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Pepperidge Farm’s classic white bread is a great option. I have also used French bread. If the bread is very fresh, allow it to sit, uncovered, on the counter for several hours to dry out a bit. Twelve ounces of cubed bread twice fills my Pyrex quart-size measuring cup just past the 4-cup line.
For gluten-free bread pudding, I have used Schar’s and Udi’s gluten-free white bread with excellent results. These brands retain their texture better than many gluten-free breads, making them good options for casserole-type dishes. Most gluten-free breads can be found in the frozen section of your grocery store’s gluten-free aisle.
Canned coconut milk is a healthier option to cream and is easy to have on hand. It does not lend a “coconutty” flavor to this recipe. As an option, you may substitute light cream or experiment by using all whole or 2% milk.