Dutch Oven Bread Pudding is your solution to the question: What do I do with this stale bread? because it takes minimum brainpower. It’s the perfect easy entertaining dessert idea. And it’s the underdog crowd-pleaser that uses all the random leftover dessert and pantry items.
Bread pudding is basically a dessert strata and, much like the savory strata, doesn’t get enough attention. It’s really nothing fancy, just a whole lot of delicious. A classic that should not be overlooked.
Bread. Use whatever you have, but I highly suggest Brioche. It can be already flavored with chocolate or maybe nuts and dried fruit. Really whatever you have or inspires you at the grocery.
Whipping cream. Use whatever leftovers you have, may it be buttermilk, half and half, only whole milk. Just make sure it has a higher fat content.
Vietnamese cinnamon. Okay, this is a bit of a curveball. Regular will do, however, I highly encourage you to make Vietnamese cinnamon your normal go-to. It’s so much more flavorful and exciting. Worth it.
Butter. I always use salted and cultured butter. I think it adds such richness and flavor to both savory and sweet dished. Use whatever you have, but add a pinch more salt if you’re using unsalted.
Pecans. I chose this nut to add extra crunch and because it seems like a natural fit. Feel free to omit or change it up to whatever you desire. Have fun and play – that’s what this is all about!
Sauce. If you don’t have cornstarch or another thickening substitute, flour will do! Double it and cook with the butter as you melt it so it completely cooks off. Or, boil longer to reduce and thicken everything. Another thing to note is you could absolutely make an icing using confectioner’s sugar if that’s what you have instead of a cup more whipping cream.
Lastly, vanilla bean. I LOVE the way the sauce looks with the speckle of vanilla beans. You’re welcome to scrape the pod clean and not add the pod as the sauce cooks, however, I like to get the most mileage out of the pods as possible. I find it infuses a bit more flavor this way. Another option is to use just vanilla extract or a ½ to 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste.