Who can resist vanilla, get a double dose with this spring time dessert. Crusty bread baked in a vanilla custard combined with rhubarb and raspberry jam form an amazing custard bread pudding. Don’t stop there, add a vanilla creme anglaise to the top. It’s a show stopper.

A bowl of rhubarb bread pudding with creme anglaise over the top

Bread Pudding with Custard

You can make the creme anglaise in advance so all you have to do is bake the bread pudding. It’s scrumptious warm or at room temperature. With simple ingredients you get the best bread pudding recipe.

Rhubarb is showing up in the groceries, so surely Spring is on its way.  One of the first fruits/vegetables to break through the ground with the promise of warm weather. It’s officially a vegetable but since people in the United States eat it as a fruit, the Customs department declared it a fruit to lower duties on it. Who knew the US government had the power to change a vegetable into a fruit.

Normally I’ll pair it with strawberries which compliment the tart flavor in strawberry rhubarb jam, strawberry rhubarb crumble, or berry rhubarb crisp.  However for this rhubarb custard bread pudding, I used raspberries instead and the combination is delicious.  

A spoonful of rhubarb bread pudding in a baking dish

This is the most amazing dessert, my new favorite.  I‘ve always been a bread pudding fan but no bread pudding I’ve tried can even come close to this one. It’s not too mushy and not overly sweet.

Not only is the rhubarb raspberry combination great, but you infuse cream with a vanilla bean and then pour that wonderful infusion over the bread to make a custardy bread pudding.

Rhubarb syrup being poured over bread pudding

This would also be wonderful in the dead of winter if you can find frozen rhubarb.

Pro tip: You can buy rhubarb frozen or it’s easy to freeze, just wash, dry, and cut into chunks. Rhubarb is one of those foods that freezes beautifully.

Why you’ll love this Custardy Bread Pudding

  • The vanilla custard is like eating a homemade cream pie.
  • The bread pudding is soft but not mushy.
  • Rhubarb and raspberries are a great combination.
  • It’s not overly sweet.
  • You could serve it for brunch or dessert, a great choice for Christmas morning or Easter brunch.

Custard Bread Pudding Recipe ingredients

ingredients for rhubarb bread pudding
Ingredients for the custard
  • Rhubarb – fresh or frozen, you’ll need about 4 cups once it’s chopped. For information on when rhubarb is in season and where to find it, check out this article.
  • Raspberry preserves – my favorite brand is Bonne Maman
  • Vanilla Bean – one for the custard and 1/2 of one for the creme anglaise. You can use just vanilla extract but you won’t get that deep vanilla flavor without the vanilla bean itself.
  • Bread – a loaf from the bakery section, Italian, French bread. or even brioche. It needs to be day-old bread. If it’s too soft, cut it into pieces and let it sit on the counter until it dries out, or place the cut pieces in the oven for a few minutes.
  • Cream and whole milk – you could use all cream but half cream and half milk is pretty decadent. You need the fat to make this a creamy custard.
  • Pantry items – eggs, butter, sugar, brown sugar, and cloves.

How do you make Custard Bread Pudding

Step 1: cook the rhubarb

For the rhubarb mixture. Add rhubarb to raspberry preserves and some water and cook just until the rhubarb is tender but not mushy.

Fresh rhubarb cut into chunks.
Chop the rhubarb
Rhubarb in a saucepan.
Add rhubarb with the preserves and water to a saucepan.
Rhubarb cooking in a saucepan.
Cook until it’s soft but not mushy.

Step 2: assemble

Place half of the bread cubes in a baking dish and cover with some of the rhubarb mixture.

Bread cut into cubes.
Cut the bread into cubes.
Bread and rhubarb in a casserole dish.
Place half of bread in dish and cover with rhubarb.

Step 3: make a custard

For the custard, combine butter, cream and milk and brown sugar and scrape the seeds from a vanilla bean into it. Let it simmer, then let it cool for 15 minutes. Once slightly cooled, add it slowly to whisked eggs.

A vanilla bean in a saucepan of custard.
Add a vanilla bean to the brown sugar, cream and milk.
Custard combined with eggs.
Add the slightly cooled milk mixture to the eggs.

Step 4: pour over the top

Add the rest of the bread to the casserole dish and pour the custard over the top. Let it sit for 30 minutes so the custard can absorb into the bread. Finally add the remaining rhubarb over the top.

Custard poured over the bread mixture.
Add another layer of bread and pour over egg mixture.
Rhubarb on top of bread mixture.
Add the rest of the rhubarb to the top.

Step 4: bake

Place the baking dish inside a roasting pan and add water coming half way up the baking dish. Bake for about an hour, just until the pudding is set.

A rhubarb bread pudding in a water bath.
Fill a roasting pan with water and add the baking dish.

Step 5: make a topping

While the bread pudding is baking, cook the reserved raspberry rhubarb liquid until it has reduced by half and is slightly thickened. Pour over the bread pudding and top with ice cream.

How to make creme anglaise for Custardy Bread Pudding

As an alternative to adding the reduced rhubarb syrup to the top, an equally good topping is to make a vanilla sauce for bread pudding, or a creme anglaise. This can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Just let it come to room temperature before spooning over the bread pudding.

Step 1:

As you did with the custard, add milk, and cream in a saucepan and scrape the seeds of a vanilla bean into it. Let it come to a simmer and then slowly whisk it into the egg yolks and sugar and return the mixture to the saucepan. Cook this over low heat until it is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

A serving of bread pudding with rhubarb syrup and vanilla ice cream

How to serve Rhubarb Bread Pudding

I’m giving you two choices for a topping.

  • The first is to reduce the raspberry rhubarb syrup and pour it over the baked bread pudding and then top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  • However, if you really want to put this over the top, make a simple creme anglaise for the topping, The vanilla creamy topping is amazing with the slightly tart rhubarb custard pudding.
A bowl of rhubarb bread pudding with a bowl of creme anglaise

How to Store

To store bread pudding, first let it cool completely and then cover with plastic wrap or move it to an airtight container. It will stay fresh in the fridge for 3-4 days

Can you freeze rhubarb?

Yes, just wash cut and freeze. If you want it to be easy to separate, freeze it on a cookie sheet and then once frozen place in a freezer container.

Do you love creme anglaise, try adding it to these desserts

More Spring desserts you’ll love

Vanilla Custard Bread Pudding Recipe with Rhubarb

Who can resist vanilla, get a double dose with this spring time dessert. Crusty bread baked in a vanilla custard combined with rhubarb and raspberry jam form an amazing custard bread pudding. Don’t stop there, add a vanilla creme anglaise to the top. It’s a show stopper.
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 10
Calories: 369kcal

Equipment

  • Saucepan
  • Baking Dish

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup raspberry preserves 13 ounces
  • 1 pound rhubarb cut inot 1/2 inch pieces (4 cups)
  • teaspoon cloves
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ loaf rustic white bread 1 lb about 5 cups

CREME ANGLAISE

  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 inch vanilla bean piece
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Instructions

  • Butter a 2 quart baking dish.
  • Melt butter in a sauce pan. Add cream and milk and brown sugar. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the cream and add the split pod. Heat on low heat until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside until slightly cool, about 15 minutes.
  • In a second saucepan, combine 1 cup of water with raspberry preserves and cook over medium-high heat unit it simmers. Add chopped rhubarb, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the rhubarb is just starting to become tender Remove from heat and set aside. You don’t want the rhubarb to be mushy.
  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract and cloves. Remove the vanilla pods from the cream mixture and slowly whisk the milk mixture into the egg mixture.
  • Layer half of the bread pieces in the prepared baking dish. With a slotted spoon, scoop out rhubarb from the liquid and layer 2/3’s of it on the bread layer. Save the remaining rhubarb and liquid. Layer the remaining bread over the rhubarb. pour the milk-egg mixture over the bread. Press down gently to help the top layer absorb the liquids.
  • Set aside for 30 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the liquids. Layer the remaining rhubarb over the top.
  • Preheat oven to 350º. Place the baking dish inside a larger roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with enough water to reach half-way up the side of the baking dish. Bake for 1 hour, or until the pudding is set and golden brown.
  • RHUBARB TOPPING: While baking, simmer the reserved liquid over high heat until reduced, about 10 minutes. Serve over the pudding.
  • CREME ANGLAISE: In a saucepan combine milk and cream. Scape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the cream and add the pod. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar and gradually whisk the hot cream mixture into the eggs. Return the mixture to the stove and cook over Lowe heat until it starts to thicken, about 5 minutes.

Notes

  • If the bread is fresh, cut it and place in a 250º oven for a few minutes to dry out.
  • Be careful adding the hot liquid to eggs, add it very slowly whisking the whole time.
  • You can use fresh or frozen rhubarb.
  • You can make the creme anglaise a day in advance and keep refrigerated. Let it warm to room temperature before serving.
  • Try using a serrated knife to cut the bread into pieces.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 369kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 166mg | Sodium: 94mg | Potassium: 275mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 850IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 137mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @easy.southern.desserts or tag #easysoutherndesserts!

I first published this Rhubarb Bread Pudding recipe on my Southern food blog Butter and Baggage.

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