Posted by: njbrown | February 11, 2011

Cinnamon-pecan Bread Pudding for My Daughter

Cinnamon-pecan Bread Pudding

You can know your children from the day they were born, and yet still be surprised by the things you don’t know about their food preferences.  This weekend, my daughter told me she liked bread pudding.  I had no idea that she’d ever eaten it, and I certainly had never made it.  It turns out that in her time as a “server” in a Cajun restaurant years ago, she had no only tried their bread pudding, but really enjoyed it.  Unfortunately, she was able give me few details about what it was like.  She said it had a very good sauce that was made with “apple something.”  This left a lot of unknowns as I went to the Web to try to reconstruct the bread pudding and sauce, and to make it in a vegan-acceptable way.  (The recipe can be easily made non-vegan for those who are open to eggs and dairy.)

My first try was a vegan recipe that called for no egg substitute and a lot of almond milk.  The result was very mushy, and didn’t pass my daughter’s approval.  In my next attempt, I used another recipe, chose a dense cinnamon-raisin bread and reduced the amount of almond milk.  I didn’t soak the bread in the liquid before baking as the first recipe had directed.  I also used egg substitute.  The result was a very soft but not mushy pudding that firmed up nicely in the refrigerator.  I know Emeril likes his bread pudding so dense that it can be sliced for serving, but that is too firm for my taste.  In a third attempt, I tried making a custard sauce that I poured over the bread to try to achieve a pudding with less softness when warm, but the bread didn’t soften to the desired degree, so I felt the second effort was best.

The next challenge was the sauce.  I had tried making a rum sauce that was quite boozy, and my daughter hated it.  After looking at a number of sauce recipes on the Web, I finally adapted one to what you see below.  If you like more schnapps taste, extra can be added at the end.

As you can see, I have used maple syrup rather than sugar.  I find the more complex flavor of maple syrup very pleasant.


  • 10 slices day-old raisin bread
  • 3 T. margarine or butter
  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces
  • 4 eggs or egg-substitute for 4 eggs
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1.  Cut or tear bread into approximately 1/2″ square pieces.  Place in 8X8 baking dish.
  2.  Melt margarine or butter and pour over bread pieces.
  3.  Sprinkle pecan pieces over bread.
  4.  Mix remaining ingredients together is bowl and then pour over bread and nuts.
  5.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes.  Knife put in center should come out clean, and pudding should be lightly browned when done.


  • ¼ cup (half a stick) original Earth Balance (not sticks) or unsalted butter
  • 5 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt if using unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup non-alcoholic apple cider or apple juice
  • ¼ cup Calvados or other apple liquor such as apple schnapps (rum can also be used)
  • 2 Tablespoons Nutriwhip (light) or heavy cream


  1. Melt butter in small saucepan.
  2. Add rest of ingredients (but not Nutriwhip or cream).  Boil for 6 to 7 minutes until slightly thickened.
  3. Remove from heat and add Nutriwhip or cream.  For those who like more alcohol flavor, additional  alcohol can be added just before serving.

When my daughter arrived for the taste test, she saw the bottle of apple schnapps and said it wasn’t what she’d remembered, but she would recognize the bottle of “apple something” if she saw it.  The penny dropped for me.  In the liquor store, I’d seen a shelf with Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum, so I pulled up a picture from the Web, and my daughter said, “That’s it!”  For next time, I’ll buy a bottle.  (Obviously, I’d not cooked off all the alcohol in my original rum sauce.)

My daughter’s verdict:  “Yummy.”  Persistence pays off.



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