Glazed Donut Bread Pudding

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  • This post and recipe was created for #SummerDessertWeek! I was sent samples by some of the sponsor companies but as always opinions are 100% mine.

    overhead corner of donut bread pudding with powdered sugar dusting

    Bread pudding (along with rice pudding) was one of those recipes I never tried until I got older. For some reason I associated it with grandmothers and something you enjoyed in ripe old age. Considering I never saw any of my grandparents eat it, I have no clue where this notion came from.

    But alas, I tried it at a chef’s tasting table and was instantly sold. Comforting bread baked with vanilla custard and topped with gooey sauce? What’s not to love?

    The Bread

    Bread pudding, is by definition, made with bread. Some use French bread, others a buttery brioche and before this recipe, my favorite was cinnamon raisin bread. If it it is bread, you can make it into bread pudding.

    glazed donuts on a baking sheet

    We are going to use donuts. Yep, donuts. While this sounds a little sweet, hear my out on the reasoning. I highly suggest using yeast donuts, opposed to cake donuts. While technically either will work, yeast are fluffier and produce the best light baked texture. Most people like to use Krispy Kreme donuts, but just a generic pack of glazed from your local grocer is fine.

    And the glaze? We are going to account for the extra sugar in the glaze by reducing sugar in the custard.

    Why Stale or Toasted Bread?

    Stale, leftover bread is usually what is called for, however I’ve never in my life had “12 stale donuts” or a whole loaf of bread lying around. Maybe a slice or two… but never enough to make bread pudding. So when I set out to make it, you best believe I am pushing it specifically for this recipe. I also maintain that even day-old donuts are not crusty enough to make a good bread pudding.

    angle corner view of bread pudding in a baking dish

    You do need dry bread, regardless of what type you use. Why? Because releasing the moisture from the bread allows it to suck up more moisture from the custard. Without the custard absorbing, you’ll just have a milky egg mixture with floating bread croutons.

    Think about a sponge- you need to wring it out in order for it to absorb the split mess on the counter. This is the same concept. So we toast the donuts. The glaze doesn’t melt off, instead it actually hardens and becomes a nice crunchy candy-like shell on the bread.

    close up of served bread pudding with a sauce

    Custard Bath

    Custard is the liquid that holds the whole thing together. A thick, egg based mixture that you want to soak into the bread and then bake for a lovely texture. It will be somewhere between a sweet stuffing and overnight French toast casserole. Some even say similar to a clafoutis.

    But whatever you do, let it sit! The donuts need time to absorb custard. They will not absorb all of the custard, but some of it. This takes about 15 minutes, so be patients. Some donuts may start to fall apart, that is fine and to be expected.

    donut pieces floating in a custard sauce

    Toppings

    My version is a spin off a Food & Wine classic that dots the bread pudding with raspberry preserves. I made mine mid-summer and wanted to use a tasty bourbon caramel sauce, so fresh peach preserves were the clear choice.

    Traditional bread puddings are topped with more heavy cream and powdered sugar. Feel free to do this or opt for a fresh berry sauce like raspberry or cherry topping. Fudge, rum sauce or regular caramel sauce work too.

    bourbon caramel pouring onto donut bread pudding

    Ice cream is another traditional topping idea, as is whipped cream.

    Variations

    No doubt a million folks will tell me mine is wrong and their grandmother’s is right, but please realize a bread pudding recipe is one of those recipes that a million different ways to be right and being delicious. Here are some other customizations you can make.

    close up of served bread pudding
    • Use cinnamon sugar or chocolate donuts (omit cinnamon and nutmeg topping with chocolate).
    • Swap vanilla extract for almond extract.
    • Add 1-2 tablespoons of bourbon or dark rum to the custard mix.
    • Swap out peach preserves for raspberry, cherry jam or fig jam. Bacon jam is another unexpected flavor combo that works well.
    • Use pumpkin pie or apple pie spice for the spice topping.
    • Skip the sauce and go for fresh fruit instead- sliced peaches, raspberry or strawberries are best.
    • Or just make my pumpkin cinnamon bread pudding.
    overhead of casserole dish with powdered sugar bread pudding

    Storage & Freezer

    Bread pudding is best enjoyed fresh and warm. If you do have leftovers, store them covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in the oven on 300°F for 3-4 minutes. Microwaving will result in a rubbery texture.

    Bread pudding can be frozen, but before you put sauce on top. Wrap well in plastic wrap or freezer wrap and store in the back of the freezer for up to 3 months.

    donut bread pudding for pinterest

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    close up bread pudding for pinterest

    donut bread pudding corner
    Print Recipe
    4.75 from 8 votes

    Donut Bread Pudding

    Glazed donuts drenched in a decadent vanilla custard and baked until puffy, topped with cinnamon, nutmeg and a bourbon caramel sauce.
    Prep Time45 mins
    Cook Time2 hrs
    Total Time2 hrs 45 mins
    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: breading pudding recipe, donut bread pudding, donut recipes
    Servings: 12
    Calories: 375kcal
    Author: Jessica Formicola

    Ingredients

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 325°F. Cut donuts into eighths and arrange on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping once, until they are crispy. Set aside to cool for 10-15 minutes.
    • Using a brush, paint a 2-quart baking dish with melted butter to prevent sticking. Set aside.
    • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a large mixing bowl with an electric whisk, blend together eggs, yolks, half & half, milk, brown sugar, extract and salt until bubbly and frothy.
    • Add cooled donut pieces to the custard mixture, tossing. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Repeat tossing and sitting 2 more times to try and get the donuts to absorb as much custard as possible.
      donuts in custard bath
    • Transfer the donut pieces and custard to prepared baking dish.
    • Dollop peach preserves all over the top.
    • In a small mixing bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and sprinkle on top of the custard and donuts.
    • Bake, uncovered, for 55-60 minutes or until the center custard has set, edges are browned and donuts are puffy. Internal temperature of bread pudding should be 160°F.
    • Remove and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
    • Dust the top with powdered sugar and then scoop onto serving plates. Drizzle with the Bourbon Caramel Sauce.
    • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings.

    Notes

    Nutritional Information is without the caramel sauce! 

    Nutrition

    Calories: 375kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 453mg | Potassium: 182mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 355IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 1mg

    angle side view bread pudding for pinterest

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