Bread pudding. It's the type of dessert that either knocks it out of the park or really, truly tanks. I've had amazing bread pudding, and really (shitty) dry bread pudding that makes me question if I ever really liked the stuff. And I do, like it, though not as much as my dad and Moses, they love it. It's the kind of dessert that makes the night feel instantly extra cozy and yet somehow extra fancy, too. Which is funny because it's literally just custard bread and ok, yeah, I guess that's cozy and fancy all at the same time. In the past, I've refrained from making it as often as Moses would have liked because I assumed you had to bake it in a water bath and could never find a pan that seemed to be the right size (I didn't have a roaster before this year). So, yeah. Bread pudding didn't really happen in our house until I decided, why not try baking it without that water bath. Guess what? Ya don't need a water bath!! This bread pudding came out perfectly moist with a nice crust on the top and without the fuss of putting a pan in a pan and worrying about scorching myself when pulling out those pans.
The beauty of this bread pudding is two-fold. First of all, I think that one of the best parts about it is that it's made with King's Hawaiian Sweet Bread Rolls, which I have to admit always makes me miss home. I can remember slathering a slice of one of the rounds with butter and guava jam, thinking it was the best thing ever (and let's be honest, ok, it kind of is). If you've never had it, I think you should change that right now--it's sweet, buttery, and oh so fluffy and it's perfect for this bread pudding. I've toasted it, to dry it out a bit (don't worry it gets rehydrated with a custard bath) and paired it with tart swirls of cranberry compote, a generous sprinkling of toasted walnuts, and heavenly chai notes. The whole house smelled like a dream when it was baking. Speaking of baking, I baked it right into one of my favorite pans, ever, this gorgeous Finex 12" Cast Iron Skillet. And thanks to a trick I learned from Cynthia, I lined the pan with parchment and didn't even blink for a second when cleaning up. I feel like my bread pudding game was just elevated by 500% the minute I baked it in my Finex skillet. I mean, it went from looking decent to looking top notch. And honestly, that's been my experience with every meal cooked in anything Finex. The beauty of their pans always makes me ooh and aah, which is why...
Which is why I'm so pumped to partner with the fine folks at Finex to giveaway one of their gorgeous 12" Cast Iron Skillets (with a lid!!) to one lucky reader. I don't know if you remember, but I had the privilege of meeting the team when I was in Portland earlier this year, and guys, this is a brand I really admire and love. The crew made my friend Jackie and I feel so welcome and important and just really treated us to an awesome morning. It was only then that I understood how much love and attention to detail is poured into each and every pan. Mike (founder and chief creative officer) is a die-hard cast iron lover, and you should probably write in and ask him if you can see his collection 'cuz I hear it's out of this world. Anyway, he and his team are really doing right by cast iron. What I mean is that the craftsmanship on these pans is exceptional and they really thought of everything, from the functional geometric shape (hello, perfect pouring), to the stainless steel spring handle (it cools down super quick), to the vintage details, they just get it.
So get excited cause all you need to do is leave a comment below and tell me why you'd love this cast iron pan and what you'd make if you won. Be sure to fill out the little form too, so I can alert you if you've won! And thank you to everyone who's entered some of the other giveaways. I've so enjoyed reading all your comments, so keep 'em coming and enter to win your favorite new cast iron skillet! Happy Saturday!
Ps - This contest is open to US and Canada Residents only.
Chai Cranberry Walnut Hawaiian Sweet Bread Pudding
Serves 8 to 10
- 1/2 lb. fresh cranberries
- Zest and juice of half an orange
- 1/2 c. light brown sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2-inch segment fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 2/3 c. water
- 12 oz. King's Hawaiian Sweet Bread Rolls, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
- 6 large eggs
- 1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 c. granulted sugar
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. ground all-spice
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- A pinch of ground black pepper
- 2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
- 1 1/2 c. whole milk
- 1 1/2 c. heavy cream
- Cranberry compote
- 1 1/2 c. walnut halves, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1 oz. melted white chocolate
- Rimmed baking sheets
- Medium saucepan
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Mixing bowls
- Silicone spatula
- 12-inch pan
- Parchment paper
- Wire cooling rack
- Skewer or toothpick
- Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to boil on medium-high heat.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until thickened. Be sure to stir occasionally.
- Let cool to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- On a rimmed baking sheet, toast sweet bread cubes for 10 minutes. At the same time, on a separate sheet (to avoid crowding), toast walnuts for 8 minutes.
- Line a 12-inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk eggs, sugars, spices, and vanilla bean paste together until very smooth. Stir in the whole milk and heavy cream. Add toasted bread cubes and pecans. Let sit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Top with cranberry compote and swirl around with a chopstick.
- Bake until the pudding is set in the center, about 60 to 75 minutes. Test doneness with a skewer or toothpick. The pudding is done when the skewer or toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
- Drizzle with melted white chocolate, cut into 2 to 3 inch wide squares, serve and enjoy!
A huge thanks to Finex for providing the product for this giveaway. I'm a huge fan of the brand, and love the pan so much that I'm always trying to find a new reason to pull it out. :D