We had a party recently and ended up with a huge amount of leftover Challah. Can you believe the misery we endure? I have a clinically diagnosable weakness for dried cranberries particularly when soaked in Amaretto (it is one of life’s great truths that most things improve once soaked in Amaretto – me, in particular). So, given my cranberry weakness, and the inherent advantage of a good Amaretto soaking I set out to make bread pudding with dried cranberries doused with a solid, no-nonsense dose of Amaretto. Here is the result – pure Amaretto bliss.
Cranberry Amaretto Bread Pudding (8-10 servings)
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- ¾ cup Amaretto
- 8 cups of day-old Challah or Brioche, cut into ½ inch cubes (including the crusts)
- 6 cups whole milk
- 5 large eggs
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and then brought to room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup Amaretto
Soak the dried cranberries in the ¾ cup of Amaretto overnight in a small covered dish.
The next day, generously butter a deep 9×12 baking dish. In a large bowl gently combine the bread with the milk. Stir occasionally until the bread is really soaked, about 2 hours. In a separate bowl blend together the eggs, sugar, nutmeg, butter, vanilla and salt. Gently toss this with the bread/milk mixture. Add the soaked cranberries AND the Amaretto. Place the mixture in your baking dish, cover and leave in the fridge for at least six hours. I usually do this in the morning and bake it at night for dessert.
When you are ready to bake the pudding, preheat your oven to 375 and take the pudding out of the fridge. You will have a much better outcome if the pudding goes in the oven at room temperature. Bake for 90 minutes until the center is set, the sides are puffed and the color is a light golden brown. If the edges are getting too dark and the center is not yet set, place tinfoil loosely over the top and allow it to continue baking until set.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Set the mixer on medium, and add the eggs, one at a time. Transfer the butter/sugar/egg mixture to the top of a double boiler. Bring the water under the double boiler to a simmer. Stirring constantly add the Amaretto. Continue cooking until the mixture has thickened slightly (this process can take a while – close to ten minutes). Remove from the stovetop. Serve the Amaretto sauce warm over the bread pudding.