Full disclosure: I’ve never really been a bread pudding fan. I want to love it, but haven’t really – until I tried this one, the version I made with Elizabeth Baird when pitch-hitting for Emily Richards one weekend at Christmas in November. Partly it’s due to the bread that was the starting point – a divinely light, buttery panettone baked by a company in Edmonton that’s nothing like the heavy, dense loaves shipped from Italy with a year-long shelf life.
You don’t need to seek out this particular loaf – a mish-mash of raisin bread, fruited holiday bread and even croissants or cinnamon buns would work well here. And the finished pudding would be delicious for a holiday brunch or even dessert – they upped their bread pudding game with a crazy simple marmalade sauce you whisk together in about three minutes and pour overtop – spiked with brandy or Grand Marnier, if you like. This is easy to cover up and take with you if you’re charged with bringing something somewhere, and would be perfect for Christmas morning as you can let the bread soak up the eggs and milk overnight. (It’s not necessary though, you could just let it sit for an hour or so if you haven’t planned to make it the night before.)
Bake it in anything you have – a shallow casserole, deep pie plate or quiche dish, like I did here. I love the idea of having a pudding on the table at some point over the holidays. This recipe comes from Emily (whose Italian family bakes large quantities of panettone for their friends and relatives at Christmastime) and Elizabeth. Merry Christmas, all!