Cinnamon-Donut Bread Pudding

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While researching recipes for this book, I came across a few for donut bread pudding, and I have to admit, I was intrigued. Most used simple glazed donuts and a thick custard made with sweetened condensed milk, but I couldn’t resist trying my own version using glazed cinnamon-roll donuts from Stardust Donuts, a little ramshackle donut stand at the edge of Imperial Beach, a tiny California beach community near my home. Use your own favorite donut shop cinnamon-swirled yeast-raised donut in your version of this pudding. Bake the puddings in individual coffee cups and serve them warm.

Ingredients

For the Cinnamon Custard Sauce

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups heavy cream

For the Pudding

  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup granulated sugar, plus 6 teaspoons for sprinkling
  • ¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 pound (5 or 6) day-old, yeast-raised cinnamon-roll donuts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • boiling water as needed
  • vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)

Method

To Make the Sauce

Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon in a bowl until smooth. Heat the cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat just until it comes to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk the hot cream into the egg yolks, ¼ cup at a time, until all the cream has been slowly incorporated into the egg yolks.

Return the Entire Mixture to the Saucepan and Cook Over Low Heat, stirring constantly, until the custard is thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Do not boil, or the custard will curdle. Immediately pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and whisk until very smooth, about 1 minute. Let cool to room temperature, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, 2 to 3 hours or up to overnight.

To Make the Pudding

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, salt, vanilla, heavy cream, milk, granulated and brown sugars, cinnamon, and ginger until smooth. Place the donut pieces in a large bowl. Pour the custard over the donuts pieces and let stand for 1 hour to allow the donuts to absorb the custard. Divide the mixture evenly and spoon into 6 ovenproof coffee cups that have been brushed with melted butter. Sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon of the remaining granulated sugar and a pinch of cinnamon.

Position a Rack in the Middle of the Oven and Preheat to 350°F. Place the cups in a large roasting pan and place the pan in the oven. Fill the pan with boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cups and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until pudding is puffed and golden and a knife comes out clean when inserted into the center of a pudding, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve the Puddings Warm, drizzled with the cold cinnamon custard sauce and/or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

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