This Roasted Peach Bread Pudding is one of my favorite bakes. I may be an outlier, but I prefer cooked peaches to fresh peaches and look forward every year to the availability of local peaches. I like the roasted peaches so much that I also use them in my Peach Hand Pies. While roasting the peaches takes a little extra effort, the resulting flavor adds a depth of flavor to the bread pudding that makes it worth the extra effort. And the dark salted caramel adds a nice contrast to the peaches and cream. Continue reading to learn more.
For a long time, I didn't like bread pudding until I went to a fundraiser where they served grilled slices of bread pudding to order and served it with caramel sauce. It was the most memorable and delicious dish I had that night and I learned that bread pudding can be good if it is made right.
How to Roast Peaches
This recipe starts with roasting the peaches. I just want to start off by saying that I am so grateful that we have air conditioning because I created this recipe in July and it was hot as heck. Even with the AC going full blast the kitchen still got a little warm, but the results were worth the sacrifices. There are just 3 main ingredients:
- Fresh Peaches
- Lemon Juice
- Granulated Sugar
The peaches are sliced (unpeeled) and combined with the lemon juice and some of the sugar and then roasted in a 400 degree F oven. Additional sugar is adding through the cooking process depending on how sweet you like the peaches.
Roasting the peaches brings out more of the natural sugar and produces the most amazingly delicious fruit. You can fix the bread pudding without cooking the peaches, but the peach syrup that comes from cooking the fruit adds additional flavor and moisture to the bread pudding.
The peaches can be cooked a few days in advance. I make a large batch to have extra to use in other desserts or for just spooning over ice cream. You can use fresh or frozen peaches, but I prefer fresh. The third time I made this recipe I left on the peach skin because I didn't feel like peeling the peaches. That turned into the best lazy move ever. The skin helped thickened the peach syrup and turned it a beautiful pink-orange color. This version of roasted peaches was the best ever.
Make the Bread Pudding with Other Fruits
You can also try this method with other stone fruit - plums, nectarines, apricots, etc. I also roast strawberries because roasting them concentrates the flavor making the flavor even more intense and I am able to use less sugar than I would if cooking on top of the stove. Check out my recipe for Strawberry Hand Pies to see how to use roasted strawberries.
How to Make Bread Pudding
Bread pudding is easy to make and perfect for a special treat. Not too many people make bread pudding and I don't know why. The base ingredients for bread pudding are:
- Challah Bread. The bread is cut into large chunks. Leftover bread will also work in this recipe.
- Whole Milk - Adds richness and flavor to the bread pudding
- Heavy Cream - Adds richness and flavor to the bread pudding
- Whole Eggs - Provide lift and structure to the bread pudding
- Ground Cinnamon and Nutmeg - The spices add flavor
- Vanilla Extract
- Unsalted Butter. Melted butter adds a lot of richness to the final dessert and ensures that it doesn't get too dry during baking
Whisk the wet ingredients together in a large bowl and then add the bread cubes. Use a large bowl that will hold the wet ingredients, eggs and bread without overflow. You need plenty of room to be able to whisk all the wet ingredients and then mix in the bread. Push the bread into the liquid until it stays submerged. Since the challah is soft and relatively fresh it only soaks for 15 minutes. If using stale or dried out bread, let it soak up to 30 minutes to ensure it has absorbed the liquid.
From here you can make it savory or sweet. Obviously, this is sweet bread pudding. After the bread has soaked, I add the roasted peaches and the syrup. Pour the mixture into a 3-quart baking pan, pour over the melted butter and bakes until the pudding has risen and feels slightly firm to the touch.
Bread to Custard Ratio
Through trial and error, I learned to make bread pudding that is moist, but not swimming in custard as I like bread pudding that is firm and not too wet. If you prefer there to be more custard when the pudding has finished baking experiment with adding more cream or milk and maybe another egg. I've made multiple versions that were goopy or too dry or just didn't have a lot of flavor. This version is just right.
This bread pudding is rich and decadent. The challah is store bought and is listed as 20 ounces on the package. The peaches add a fruity, tart element. If I roast a lot of peaches I save the extra for other desserts.
How to Make Salted Caramel Sauce
Caramel sauce is really easy to make. Don't be intimidated by the idea of boiling sugar. There are three elements to successful caramel: the right size pot, an accurate thermometer, and patience.
The right size pot ensures the caramel doesn't boil over when the cream is added. If you're making caramel for the first time the thermometer will ensure you don't under or overcook it. It takes a little time to get the caramel to the right temperature and color, so don't be tempted to rush it by turning the heat on high or stirring the caramel. Stirring the caramel as the sugar is cooking is one of the worst things you can do because it can cause crystallization and you end up with lumps of hard sugar. If that happens you will need to start over.
The salt and vanilla are added at the end of the cooking. If you prefer the salt can be left out, but the slightly salty caramel sauce pairs well with the sweetness of the bread pudding.
If you try this recipe you can always contact me with questions either on the recipe page, my Contact page or at my Instagram @bakesbybrownsugar. I love sharing information with other bakers. If you make the recipe let me know how it turns out.
Roasted Peach Bread Pudding
- Roasted Peaches see recipe below
- 20 oz challah bread 6 cups, cubed
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 5 eggs
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 2 pounds fresh peaches cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup sugar
Salted Caramel Sauce (Optional)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice optional
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a half baking sheet with parchment paper
- For fresh peaches, I leave the skin on. The natural pectin in the skin creates a thicker syrup and turns the syrup a beautiful pinkish orange. If fresh peaches aren't in season you can use frozen peaches. Thaw the peaches completely and follow the remaining instructions.
- Place the chopped peaches in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and 1/2 cup of sugar and stir to combine. Spread the peaches in a single layer in the baking sheet.
- Roast the peaches for 15 minutes. Stir and taste to determine the level of sweetness and amount of liquid released. Add 1/4 cup sugar if you want it sweeter and roast for another 10 minutes. Stir the peaches and taste again. If you want them sweeter add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Roast for another 10-15 minutes. The peaches are done when the peaches are slightly softened, and the syrup begins to thicken and bubble.
- Remove the peaches from the oven and scrape the peaches and the syrup into a bowl to cool to room temperature. The peaches can be roasted two days in advance and kept in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. It should be at least 3 quarts.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and then whisk in the brown sugar. Add the milk, the cream, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon. Add the cubed bread and gently push the bread down into the liquid until the bread is submerged and all of it is wet. Let it soak for 15 minutes.
- Add the peaches to the bread mixture and gently fold into the mixture until thoroughly combined. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Drizzle the melted butter over the bread pudding and bake for 45-60 minutes. The bread pudding should be golden brown, puffed up and slightly firm in the center. Cool on a wire rack until warm.
Salted Caramel Sauce
- In a small heavy saucepan combine the sugar, lemon juice, and water and gently stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook undisturbed until the sugar reaches a temperature of 370 degrees F, 8-10 minutes. The caramel should be dark amber.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly stir in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble up as you as the cream so continue to stir until the caramel is smooth. When it has stopped bubbling add the vanilla and the salt and stir. Pour the caramel into a heatproof container and cool to room temperature.
- The caramel sauce can be refrigerated for at least 4 days or until the sell-by date on the heavy cream carton.
- Cut a piece of bread pudding (as big or as small as you want) and spoon the warm caramel over the bread pudding.