12.15.2011

The Improv Cooking Challenge: Cranberry Eggnog Bread Pudding


.  It's that time of the month again!  No, not that time of the month.  Get your head outta the gutters, it's the holidays! ☺  But you guessed it, it's ICC time!!  And as you know, one of my favorite parts of the months [nerd alert!].  I had such a blast making Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls and Mini Pumpkin Pie Cheesecakes, how could I not look forward to this?!

So what did we have to work with in December?  Well, very festive ingredients for sure...

Cranberries and Eggnog  


Gah.  Love.  

However, I will say that when I first saw eggnog, I had a little [or more than usual] blank in my head. I've only ever done anything with eggnog just last year when I made Eggnog Cheesecake [which I have not posted, but if you would like the recipe let me know and it'll be my next Tried & True Tuesday].  And when I baked with it for the first time, it was also the very first time I had ever tasted eggnog.  So I felt a little behind the eight ball with this ingredient.

I did know that I wanted to do something decadent and rich.  Something perfectly holiday-like.  And what I came up with is just that.  Not bragging, but just puttin' it out there.


My little concoction of Cranberry Eggnog Bread Pudding is absolutely wonderful.  It screams Christmas, winter, and any other word you can associate with this time of the year.  Seriously, it's scrumptious.  I was a tad skeptical thinking this would dish would turn out, but the eggnog worked perfectly as a substitute for heavy whipping cream, giving the bread a little sweetness and extraordinary spice.  The cranberries add a burst of tartness every other bite, complementing the breadiness and eggnoggy flavor juuuuust right.

And the texture of this bread pudding?  I know, for some people bread pudding is just not their thing.  But the combination of bread, liquid, and flavor are just right, not too soggy or too dry.  But landing right in the center, a tender and moist bread pudding.  I will be using the base of this recipe for years to come, it's that memorable.

I realize my blog has been flooded with cranberry treats lately, but what can I say, it's the holidays [that rhymed]!  So you can bet you're favorite present that I'll be throwing out some more cranberry recipes, I can't help it.  I'll try to mix it up a bit for you though.


Anywho, another great ICC experience!  Let's hope it rolls on into the New Year.  Happy eating!  .

My Notes:
  • The eggnog flavor in this recipe is by no means over powering.  I was pretty nervous about this happening, because as we all know, the flavor of eggnog is very distinct.  But I really do think the amount I chose to add is just right; however, if you're an eggnog fanatic or not so much, you can adjust the amount of eggnog you'd like to use, just add or take away the same amount of heavy whipping cream to equal 2 cups of liquid.
  • I chose to use cherry-flavored cranberries.  I personally adore these but you can use whichever type of cranberry you'd like.
  • I used exactly 1 round loaf of cinnamon chip bread from Great Harvest Bread Company [my definite go-to business for any type of bready goodness].  I chose this bread because I thought the extra cinnamon would be wonderful, but you can use what ever type of bread you have on hand.
  • Not sure if you took note, but I would like to point out my brand new 2 quart Emile Henry baking dish that I won from a giveaway over at Zoe Bake's.  First, I NEVER win anything, so I was literally jumping up and down when I found out.  And second, this dish is the bomb.com.  It's absolutely beautiful and if you don't know anything about the brand, well...it's one of the best.  It would sure make for some good holiday gifts ☺


Ingredients:
1-1/2 c. eggnog
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
5 eggs
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
6 c. dried bread cubes
1 (6 oz.) package dried cherry-flavored cranberries


Directions:
1.  In a small bowl, combine eggnog, heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract


2.  In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, and cinnamon.


3.  Gradually whisk milk mixture into egg mixture.


4.  Place dried bread cubes into an ungreased 2-quart baking dish.  Sprinkle cranberries evenly over bread, making sure some of the cranberries get into the center of the mixture (I just lifted up a few pieces of bread here and there to get the cranberries evenly spread throughout).


5.  Pour milk mixture evenly over bread mixture, making sure to get all of the top pieces covered.  Press down lightly with the back of a large spoon to moisten bread.  Cover with foil and chill for 1 to 24 hours.



6.  Heat oven to 350F.  Bake, covered, for 1 hour or until top appears evenly set.


Yield: 12 servings


17 comments:

  1. Hello fellow ICC blogger. That is one pan of wonderful goodness. I love bread pudding and cannot wait to give yours a try. Come visit and check out our cookie. Also be sure to register to win the wonderful book we are giving away. Today is the last day. Look for the Southern Fried Women post.

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  2. I would have never thought to use eggnog in bread pudding, that's brilliant! And I bet it's delicious with the tart cranberries!

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  3. That's hilarious! There was a brief moment there when I was thinking Whoa, TMI! Great recipe though - looks like the perfect holiday dessert!

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  4. Jess

    I love bread pudding ... the Hubby not so much. The funny thing is the Hubby loves french toast ... me not so much.

    I am glad I am not the only one who was a little nervous about the eggnog!

    Your recipe looks delicious!

    Robyn
    http://thranchwifechronicles.com/

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  5. I made bread pudding with the eggnog and cranberries. I guess great minds think alike (or something like that).
    Yours is just gorgeous!

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  6. Your bread pudding looks gorgeous! So glad you are enjoying the pie dish.

    Cheers, Zoë

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  7. This looks delicious - I'm a fan of bread pudding! I liked your notes and the dish is lovely! Thanks for sharing - a great Improv entry!

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  8. What a great idea to use the ingredients in bread pudding.!! Bread Pudding is one of my all time
    favorite desserts, and I didn't think of it! You did a wonderful job on the pictures, and I can't wait to try this.

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  9. Looks really good - this would be a fave of my husband!

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  10. Using a cinnamon chip bread for the base was a great choice. The pudding looks wonderful.

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  11. hi just registered ,, tina

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  12. I made bread pudding too for this challenge! too funny!

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  13. Oh my.. this bread pudding looks delicious. I can't wait to give it a try. Thanks for sharing.

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  14. So glad I came across this recipe! I made cranberry walnut quick bread for my husband to take to co-workers earlier this week. In my haste of having to make 18 mini-loaves I accidentally left the sugar out of one batch! So I had 6 loaves that were edible, but definitely not what they were supposed to be. I broke them into large chunks to let them dry out then followed your recipe for the rest and it turned out fabulous! Thanks for the inspiration and for keeping them from the trash.

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  15. Such beautiful pictures! I just wanted to eat it off the page :)

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  16. Delish! What a great idea. Thanks for sharing on Crazy Sweet Tuesday!

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