Overnight Bread Pudding with Pecan Topping

With so much gloomy wet weather here lately, I have been motivated to make lots of comfort food. When I first made bread pudding, I was looking for inspiration but many recipes required overnight preparation. Since I had not planned ahead for it, I decided to wing it and liked my results. In fact, K actually prefers that one slightly to this one. This recipe is a bit more filling, and he thought it felt “less healthy” even though it is only the topping that really puts this one over the edge. I basically followed America’s Test Kitchen recipe, but they call it “Make-Ahead French Toast Casserole with Caramel-Pecan Topping”. To me, it tastes like bread pudding with pecans, so that is what I am calling it for my records. I made a few changes because we are a cinnamon-loving household here. We also never have a whole loaf of Italian/French bread just hanging around. I mean, who does? If you buy bread, don’t you start eating hunks of it that day, then put it to the side with grand plans you forget about? This happens often here. We can get through a  solid half loaf, but it is really hard to finish a whole loaf before it starts to go stale. So, I decided to let this half go stale and make an overnight bread pudding. To my surprise, they expected me to use a whole loaf. Well, this is the halved version made slightly healthier than their version.

For instance, whole milk and half-and-half? No way. Two percent is just fine. And as for using 6 Tablespoons of butter for the topping, it was closer to 4 because (1) that is what I had remaining of a stick, and (2) 6 seemed like an awful lot. It turned out that the topping was still plenty rich without the extra bit.

Also, I am continuing my love affair with pecans. Everyone may be all about pumpkin at this time of year, but pecans are my new love. I love them in all of these bread dishes. They get so soft, chewy, and sweet!

Directions for Overnight Bread Pudding with Pecan Topping

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

  • 1/2 loaf of Italian/French bread sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 Tablespoons butter (1/2 stick), softened
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1.5 Tablespoons corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans (add a bit more if you love pecans as much as I do)

If your bread is not stale, and/or you like your bread extra crunchy in your bread pudding, then toast the bread in a 325 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes. Let the pieces cool before continuing.

Prepare an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish. Place the bread slices in the dish, squeezing them next to each other. Depending on how much bread you have, you should have almost 2 layers. Whisk together the eggs, milk, granulated sugar, vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread slices. I flipped the pieces to make sure that everything got coated, then pressed down to submerge them slightly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or up to 1 day.

When you pull it out, the bread should have soaked up most or all of the milk mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. For the topping, mix the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and pecans together.

When it is smooth,

It’s not the prettiest…

drop the topping over the casserole in as even a layer as you can manage. Feel free to sprinkle more cinnamon on top.

Still super ugly at this point…ugh…please keep going, though!

Place the baking dish on a cookie sheet (in case of spill overs, and to make pulling it out easier later) and bake for about 1 hour until golden.

Look what it turns into!

Let cool before serving (about 10 minutes).

Crunchy topping and creamy custardy base!

Directions for Overnight Bread Pudding with Pecan Topping without pictures

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

  • 1/2 loaf of Italian/French bread sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 Tablespoons butter (1/2 stick), softened
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1.5 Tablespoons corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans (add a bit more if you love pecans as much as I do)

If your bread is not stale, and/or you like your bread extra crunchy in your bread pudding, then toast the bread in a 325 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes. Let the pieces cool before continuing.

Prepare an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish. Place the bread slices in the dish, squeezing them next to each other. Depending on how much bread you have, you should have almost 2 layers. Whisk together the eggs, milk, granulated sugar, vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread slices. I flipped the pieces to make sure that everything got coated, then pressed down to submerge them slightly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or up to 1 day.

When you pull it out, the bread should have soaked up most or all of the milk mixture. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. For the topping, mix the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and pecans together. When it is smooth, drop the topping over the casserole in as even a layer as you can manage. Feel free to sprinkle more cinnamon on top. Place the baking dish on a cookie sheet (in case of spill overs, and to make pulling it out easier later) and bake for about 1 hour until golden. Let cool before serving (about 10 minutes).

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9 thoughts on “Overnight Bread Pudding with Pecan Topping

  1. Pingback: Brown Butter Pecan Ice Cream | fudgingahead

  2. I substituted the 4 eggs for 2 eggs and 2 mashed bananas. I also used 1 c milk and 1 c almond breeze. And instead of pecans in the topping, I mixed them into the actual pudding. Verdict: Delish!

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