Is it wrong to eat bread pudding for breakfast? If it is, don’t tell me, because I’ve got a little streak going over here. A small dish of Blackberry Bread Pudding with a very large cup of coffee.

Dessert for breakfast? Oh, yes.

For every 29 days of steel-cut oats, you need something dusted with powdered sugar. Something that makes you feel like you should be strutting around the house in a red velvet robe with an evergreen crown on your head, like the Ghost of Christmas Present. Or reclining with the bowl on your belly, like Hedonismbot.

People say you can use whatever bread you want for bread pudding, but that’s a dirty lie. If you want your bread pudding to be a transcendent experience, you’ve got to get your hands on a small loaf of brioche or challah. Both breads are slightly sweet and rich, so when you toast the cubes and bathe them in half-and-half, cream, eggs, sugar and vanilla, they don’t get mushy and fall apart. They soak in every blessed spoonful.

If you closed your eyes and tasted the pudding fresh from the oven, you’d swear it was cake.

That is, unless you got a bite studded with blackberries, and then you probably wouldn’t say anything at all.

It’s OK to moan. Really, I won’t tell.

The magical thing about this recipe is that any berry, fresh or frozen, will work. Add a few big handfuls of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries or cranberries. Or, pick up a bag of frozen mixed berries, and go wild.

You could make the pudding with low-fat ingredients and all sorts of healthy substitutions, but the easiest thing to do is to share it. Invite your friends over. Take it to work. Strap it into your passenger’s seat, and drive it to your mom’s house.

Spread the joy. Eat dessert first.

Blackberry Bread Pudding

You can use frozen blackberries for this pudding, or replace them with another berry, like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries or cranberries.

Aapted from “Gale Gand’s Brunch!”

Serves 6 to 8

  • 8 ounces brioche or challah (That’s about 1/2 of one large loaf or an entire small one.)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups blackberries (fresh or frozen)
  • Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a deep 9×13-inch baking dish, and set aside.
  2. To Prep the Bread: Cut the crusts off the bread, and slice it into 1-inch cubes. (You should have about 3 1/2 cups of bread cubes.) Scatter the bread cubes on a baking sheet, and toast them in the oven until light golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. (Check them every 5 minutes to make sure they don’t brown too much.) Set aside to cool, but leave the oven on.
  3. In a large bowl bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, half-and-half, cream, vanilla and salt.
  4. Add the bread cubes to the bowl, toss gently, and let them soak until they absorb the custard, about 30 minutes.
  5. Pour half the bread mixture into the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with half the blackberries. Repeat with the remaining bread mixture and berries.
  6. To Create a Water Bath: Place the dish in a large roasting pan, and carefully fill it with enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
  7. Bake until the pudding is set and golden brown on top, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the water bath, and serve immediately, or let cool to serve warm or chilled. Serve by the large spoonful, dusted with confectioner’s sugar.