Basic Bread Pudding as served in Victoria's Bake Shoppe

Silent Night Deadly Night by Vicki Delany is set the week before Thanksgiving, when food, glorious food, is uppermost on everyone’s mind and pies, tarts, biscuits, and cakes are flying off the shelves at Victoria’s Bake Shoppe in Rudolph, New York, America’s Year Round Christmas destination.

"I glanced at the blackboard on the wall. Thanksgiving stuffing bread pudding with caramel sauce.
Just looking at the words, I felt three pounds settle on my hips."

Vicki won’t give us her secret for what makes her bread pudding “thanksgiving stuffing” worthy, but she always starts with this basic version.

Bread Pudding
  • 12 ounces brioche or challah, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 4 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
Caramel Sauce
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Bread Pudding
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; set aside.

  3. Put bread in a large bowl; set aside.

  4. Heat milk and cream in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until just about to simmer; remove from heat.

  5. Whisk eggs, yolk, sugar, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, pour cream mixture in a slow, steady stream into egg mixture.

  6. Pour over bread; fold to combine. Let stand 30 minutes, tossing and pressing occasionally to submerge bread.

  7. Meanwhile, soak raisins in 1 cup boiling water for 30 minutes.
  8. Drain raisins and stir raisins into bread mixture. Transfer bread to buttered dish; pour liquid in bowl over top.

  9. Set dish in a roasting pan; transfer to oven. Pour boiling water into pan to reach about halfway up sides of dish.

  10. Bake until golden brown, about 50 minutes. Let dish cool on a rack 10 to 20 minutes.

  11. Serve with warm caramel sauce if desired.

Caramel Sauce
  1. Bring brown sugar, butter, and milk to a gentle boil and cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat; add vanilla extract.