Oh my goodness. I have been dying to share this eggnog bread pudding recipe on the blog for the longest time. But it was not until today that I actually got some decent looking bread pudding pictures, so I’m finally posting it.
Some vegan recipes – for example, my stuffed seitan roast – despite being very delicious, are not going to succeed at tricking an omnivore into believe it’s the non-vegan counterpart of the dish. And I’m fine with that; I don’t think vegan cooking is or should be about trickery.
But this is one of those recipes that folks who eat milk and eggs go completely nuts over because they can not BELIEVE it’s vegan. It’s so moist and sweet and utterly decadent tasting that I’ve had many a face be pretty surprised to learn that it’s butter-less. (Yes, I am one of those people who awkwardly lurks around watching others eat their vegan food, and then gleefully points out the lack of animal products after they say that it’s good).
And be careful, because this eggnog bread pudding is so dang easy to eat, and might need to be hidden away before things get too out of hand.
In my eyes, the most important step in making this recipe successfully is to toast the heck out of the bread before cooking. Seriously, let the bread cubes go until all of them are browned. The less moisture in the bread, the more moisture it can absorb and that’s how the pudding becomes a pudding, instead of bread cubes floating in a sea of cornstarch goo. It will seem like you’re pouring a lot of liquid into the pan but as long as you were patient in the toasting step, it will be the perfect amount. You can see in the picture above how the pudding sets.
This time around, we made it with the leftover Hawaiian Rolls that went stale. Any bread that you like and that isn’t too savory will probably work great. I’ve also made it with spelt potato bread before. And if you can’t have wheat then I’m pretty certain your favorite gluten-free bread would work too.
I’ve perfected this recipe over several trials dating back to months ago, and it’s a really good (and easy!) one. There are a few different options for substituting various parts of it so look in the notes in you are wondering. I hope that you enjoy the fruits (or should I say chocolate chips?) of my labor =]
Chocolate Chip Eggnog Bread Pudding
1/4 c. raw cashew pieces, soaked (see notes)
2 1/4 c. cold, plain, unsweetened almond milk, separated
1/4 c. dark rum (see notes)
1/2 tb vanilla
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
3 tb cornstarch
1 tb melted coconut oil
1/2 c. maple syrup
1/4 tsp black salt (kala namak)
About 3 cups of leftover bread cut into 1/2-inch cubes
About 5 graham crackers broken into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 c. chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and spread out the bread cubes onto a dry baking sheet. You don’t have to wait for the oven to finish preheating to put them in. Toast for about 2o minutes or until bread cubes are completely dried out and lightly browned. Add to a lightly greased loaf pan along with the graham crackers and chocolate chips; stir a bit to disperse evenly. You’ll see that my measurements are approximate for the graham crackers and bread – you want the loaf pan to be about 3/4 to the way full to the top with these ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a blender or food processor, puree the cashews with 1/4 cup of the almond milk until smooth. Pour through cheesecloth or a mesh sieve into a small mixing bowl. Rinse out the blender or food processor and add the cornstarch and another 1/4 cup of the milk; combine until smooth, and add to the same bowl. (Alternately, whisk together the cornstarch and milk). Add the rest of the eggnog ingredients and the salt; whisk in the coconut oil and maple syrup.
Pour the mixture over the bread/crackers/chocolate chips in the loaf pan. Do not stir – if any bread or graham cracker pieces at the top are still dry, push them down so that they at least get moistened. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and pudding is set; the top will feel slightly firm if you press on it. Another good way to check if it’s done is to see if you can spot milk still bubbling around the bottom of the loaf pan. If you can, it needs a few more minutes.
Let cool for 10 minutes before digging in. Will keep well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, and after that will start to turn into delicious mush.
Substitution notes: For an alcohol-free version, trade the rum for additional plain, unsweetened nondairy milk. With 1/4 cup of rum, there will be some pockets in the bread pudding where the alcohol is not completely cooked off (which I love). If you’d prefer not to have this you can either cook the rum in a saucepan for a few minutes with some of the milk ahead of time, or cut the rum in half (again, replacing the other rum with more milk).
If you don’t have black salt, replace it with sea salt or table salt. If you don’t have coconut oil, you can replace it with canola oil or another neutral oil. The graham crackers can be left out and more bread used instead.
To use store-bought or other homemade vegan eggnog, reduce the maple syrup to 1/4 cup and use 2 and 1/2 cups of eggnog instead of all of the ingredients listed under ‘eggnog’. If the eggnog isn’t spiked and you want the bread pudding to be then use 2 and 1/4 cups of eggnog + 1/4 cup rum.
Other notes: Sometimes I’m lazy or I don’t plan ahead, and I don’t leave enough time to soak my cashews (ideally, for 12 hours, since I don’t have a high-powered blender). So instead I put them in a bowl with water and microwave them for 2 minutes, then let them sit in the warm water for another 10+ minutes before using. Always works for me – and I’m not the only one.
I don’t know why but today I’m just in the mood to share some cute pictures of my cat. We had two snowfalls earlier this week and this was her first snow since coming home with us. She watched it, transfixed, for a while but then ran and hid on the bed and didn’t go back to the window until the snow stopped. So cute =]