Yum, I love bread pudding. It's funny to me that everyone thinks it's such a great dessert to order when you go out, because to me, bread pudding really says breakfast! It's got all the great breakfast components that French Toast has, so really keep your options OPEN and don't banish this dish to dessert only!!!
My Mom used to make this stuff all the time, we loved it, even though now I know she was using up all that old bread! That's OK, I really like this stuff. I find myself throwing bread bits and pieces into the freezer in a ziploc bag all the time, for things like this, or a savory Spinach & Feta Strata. If you don't have any stale bread, you can cut cubes out of a fresh loaf of bread and dry it out in the oven for 15 minutes or so at 350 degrees.
Here's my trick for figuring out how much bread cubes you need.... take the dish that you are going to use and FILL it over the top. I mean heaping over the top, there's nothing worse that a flat little bread pudding- do it like you mean it! It condenses down a whole bunch once you soak it in the egg/liquid mixture.
Serves about 6-8, 8x8 dish
12 cups bread cubes, cubed
1 can light coconut milk
1 cup half and half, or cream
1 cup (8 oz. can) crushed pineapple, with juice
1 cup coconut, sweetened, flaked (optional, I left it out of the recipe, just sprinkled the top)
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark rum, or coconut rum
1 tsp almond extract
In a very large bowl, beat up the eggs, coconut milk, cream (half & half or milk works too), sugar and rum. Beat until well mixed. Add in crushed pineapple (and coconut if using), and then toss in bread cubes, mixing well. Add back to a buttered 8x8 baking dish and cover. Refrigerate for a couple hours, or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake on a baking sheet (no spills in your oven...) at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. I baked mine uncovered, and it did not get too brown or dried out. In the last 5 minutes, sprinkle with a couple tablespoons of brown sugar and coconut flakes.
Serve warm, or even room temperature.
Rum Caramel Sauce
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2-3 Tbsp dark rum, or coconut rum (optional)
1/2 cup cream
Over medium high heat, melt the butter and the brown sugar together, adding the rum and then the cream. Cook at a rolling boil for about 5 minutes as it bubbles and thickens. Pour over the bread pudding and serve... remind people that the caramel sauce is molten if you serve it right away after the sauce is done.