Christmas Bread Pudding with Dark Rum Sauce
Every time I make bread pudding, I end up scratching my head and wondering, “Why don't I make this more often?” I usually make bread pudding for the holidays (hey, it’s a classic) but I’m starting to think we should have it all year. It’s so good! I have so many fond memories of filling up on holiday feasts with my family, and many of those memories end with making room for just one more bite of sweet bread pudding. My bread pudding recipe makes a delicious treat with a party of flavors that all get along. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do.
Where does bread pudding come from?
It amazes me how far bread pudding has come considering its humble beginning. Food historians have traced this classic comfort food all the way back to the 11th century, where it was invented by frugal cooks as a way to use up stale, leftover bread. Every crumb was valuable back then! It was a kind of “poor man's pudding” in its early days. But between the heavy cream, dried fruits, and spiced rum, boy does it feel rich to me.
What kind of bread is best for bread pudding?
I like to make my bread pudding with challah. Technically, you can use whatever old bread you have around (steer clear of mold, of course), but I’m kind of a purist on this one. Why? Because challah is special. It’s similar to brioche bread—it has a rich and spongy texture because it’s made with egg yolks. In addition to the satisfying texture, it has complex, tangy honey notes. In a nutshell it’s a little soft, a little sweet, and a whole lot delicious! And that, my friends, is why challah is the best bread to use in your next bread pudding.
What makes my bread pudding so special? It’s all about the dark rum and spices.
Remember that party of flavors I mentioned earlier? Bread pudding might seem like kind of a boring dessert at first glance, but mine truly is bursting with flavor. Different types of dried fruit like cherries and golden raisins add different flavor notes, but I also like to add nutmeg, cinnamon, and fresh orange zest for warmth and brightness.
And that’s not all—the icing on the cake (so to speak) is actually the rum sauce. My rum sauce is inspired by Southern bread pudding recipes. In the south, people really seem to like the extra spice, sweetness, and kick that a hard rum sauce adds. You can use white rum, but I prefer dark. Dark rum often has spices added and is aged which means it has a richer, bolder flavor. My favorite rum to use for this recipe is Captain Morgan’s spiced dark rum. No need to break the bank for something that’s going into a glaze, in my opinion.