Bread pudding is classic comfort food and most of these custardy delights are baked – and served – in large casserole dishes. This “family style” format is perfect when you have a big crowd to serve, but it’s not the only way to bake bread pudding. This recipe is for Muffin Tin Bread Puddings, where individual bread puddings are baked in muffin cups. These single-serving puddings are just the right size for an after-dinner treat and they’re very easy to transport if you plan to take your dessert on-the-go.
The recipe starts out like almost any bread pudding, with cubed bread added to a custard mixture flavored with vanilla and cinnamon. I used plain white bread for this particular bread pudding, but richer breads such as challah and brioche are always excellent choices. I also added raisins to the mix. Not only do raisins go well with vanilla and cinnamon, but they plump up and become more tender as bread pudding bakes. If raisins aren’t your thing, however, feel free to leave them out entirely or replace them with another dried fruit, chocolate chips or chopped nuts.
Dividing the mixture into the muffin pans is the trickiest part of this recipe. I recommend using muffin wrappers so that it is easy to remove the puddings from the pan. They will shrink back from the sides of the pan slightly, so don’t worry if that happens. I like to use a large portion scoop or a fairly large spoon to divide the mixture into the cups, ensuring that I get plenty of bread and custard mixture in each one without spilling too much as I go.
The finished puddings are dense and custardy, with a deliciously satisfying blend of vanilla and cinnamon. While I typically serve these for breakfast, I must admit that I really enjoy having leftovers for breakfast. It’s like a custardy muffin – and they pair extremely well with coffee. If I’m having them in the morning, I typically eat them cold, so I can eat them out of hand and not necessarily need to grab a fork. If you’re serving them for dessert, feel free to warm them up or top them with a drizzle of caramel sauce to make them richer.
Muffin Tin Bread Puddings
6 slices white sandwich bread, cut in 1-inch pieces (approx 4 cups)
2/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 -2/3 cup raisins (or other mix-ins)
Preheat oven to 325F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
Cut bread into 1-inch pieces, yielding approximately 4 cups.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and milk. Fold in bread cubes and raisins and allow mixture to stand for 15 minutes.
Divide evenly – using a spoon or a large portion scoop to make it neater – into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until puddings are set and spring back slightly when pressed. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Puddings can be served warm or cold. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.