Tipsy Challah Holiday Bread Pudding

by Hannah Fordin

During the holiday season, when I’m not doing my best to be the first human to hibernate all winter, carbs and alcohol are the key to a holly-jolly time for all. This recipe combines both of those essentials and is an easy dessert for your holiday, not to mention a perfectly acceptable breakfast the next morning. The most exciting ingredient is cane syrup. It’s made the old fashioned way over an open fire every Thanksgiving in Alabama by my colleague Kat Johnson and her family. It brings a sweet, savory flavor that’s unlike any other sweetener.

I like to use my Le Creuset round dutch oven because it’s small enough to get a smooth custard at the bottom and wide enough to leave the top open to the heat for a caramelized topping. Plus the securely fit lid makes for easy storage of any leftovers.


  • 1 loaf of challah (mine was a week old)
  • 1 whole egg, 2 egg yolks
  • 1.5 cups heavy cream
  • 1.5 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup of cane syrup (maple syrup is nice too)
  • 1 tablespoon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • The zest of one orange
  • ⅔ cup of Brandy (Bourbon is nice too)
  • ½ cup of golden raisins

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cut the challah into large cubes, around an inch square, and dry in the oven for 20-30 minutes (depending on how stale your bread is) on a rimmed baking sheet. Make sure to cool completely when done in the oven.

In a saucepan, heat milk, cream, cinnamon, and cane syrup. Bring to a gentle boil over medium low heat. Turn off burner and whisk in butter and orange zest. Cover and set aside to cool and steep for about 30 minutes.

Butter the inside of the Le Creuset round dutch oven and put your now cooled bread into the pan. Strain the cinnamon and orange zest from now cooled custard and mix in blender or food processor. Mix in egg, egg yolks and bourbon. Blend until frothy, less than a minute.

Pour the custard mixture over your bread, mix, and gently fold in your raisins.

Now you have to patient and let your future bread pudding rest in the refrigerator for at least three hours or overnight.

Once everything is ready to bake, preheat oven to 300 degrees, sprinkle your bread pudding with a little sugar, and bake until the top is crispy and the sides are coming away from the edge of the pot, about 35 minutes. If you like a crispy top, broil for 5 minutes.

Let rest for 30-60 minutes and enjoy!

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