There are some desserts out there that are worth the buy at a restaurant: A beautifully caramelized Tart Tatin, crunchy profiteroles filled with custard, definitely macarons (it is quite a process). There is, however, one dessert that I always emphasize to people not to buy at a restaurant. Do not order bread pudding from a restaurant!
I'm not trying to take away business from the pastry chef at your local cafe, but just don't order bread pudding. At the end of the day in a busy restaurant they clean up the front house, lock the doors, and while they are prepping for the next day they see the massive pile of bread that they didn't use/sell that day. What do they do with it?
Throw it away? Maybe.
Donate it to the needy? I hope so, maybe they do.
Sell it the next day? I hope not.
Make a dessert out of the leftovers? Yes.
I am not saying they should not be resourceful, of course, you need stale bread for the recipe anyway! It makes sense. The owner doesn't waste money, the pastry chef is applauded for being resourceful, and the customer gets a tasty dessert.
So why do I have a problem with you ordering it?
Well, let's look at the facts: It is made out of stale bread, eggs, milk, and sugar. Do you have stale bread, eggs, milk or sugar in your house? YOU DO?? Then don't waste $7.95 on someone else's old bread! Not to mention the fact that you literally stir the ingredients together and put it in the oven. Do yourself a favor and just give it a whirl. You may thank me later.
Anyway.... This recipe is awesome, you can add anything you want to for flavor, just mix it in. There are endless flavor combinations! Raspberry/white chocolate, cinnamon, blueberry/lemon, chocolate/peanut butter, salted caramel, etc.
So, just try it. If you don't like it, then feel free to go back to ordering it from your favorite local cafe.
I added some toffee bits to mine in this step which gave it an extra pop of flavor.
2 cups sugar
3 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 loaf Italian bread, cubed
Cube Italian bread loaf and let sit in bowl for at least an hour and up to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 x 9 baking dish.
Mix together sugar, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, and milk in a bowl. Pour over cubed bread and let sit for 10 minutes.
Pour bread mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes, eat while warmed or at room temperature. If desired, add a drizzle of white chocolate and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Refrigerate leftovers (if there are any).