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    The confident cook

    Dinner rolls, eggs, and milk become breakfast bread pudding for you and your valentine

    Breakfast bread puddings
    Sheryl Julian for The Boston Globe
    Breakfast bread puddings

    Bread pudding should be one of those recipes that you have up your sleeve, so you can pull it out whenever the occasion demands. It takes bread, of course, or dinner rolls, like this recipe calls for. Go ahead and cut them up like croutons. You also need eggs and milk. Memorize these proportions and you’ll make bread pudding for the rest of your life without looking it up: For every egg, you need one-quarter cup milk (or cream). Add a few spoons of sugar and you’re almost done.

    I also like to blend in lemon rind and vanilla. Then add a little surprise in the layers of bread, like raisins, or, if you love chocolate, broken bittersweet pieces or chips. Butter two large custard cups, bowls, or coffee cups, fill with the bread and custard mixture, and send them to the oven. You’ll surely win a valentine with this beloved, old-fashioned dish. But first you’ll have captured a heart with your confidence. SHERYL JULIAN

    Breakfast bread puddings

    Serves 2

    Make these just before baking or assemble the dishes the night before and refrigerate them covered with plastic wrap. Let them come to room temperature for 30 minutes before baking. You can easily double the recipe to make four.

    Butter (for the dishes)
    3baby brioche or slider rolls or dinner rolls (3 to 4 inches each) or 2 larger rolls (5 inches each)
    ¾cup whole milk
    3tablespoons granulated sugar
    ½teaspoon vanilla extract
    Grated rind of ½ lemon
    ½cup golden or dark raisins or dried cranberries
    Extra granulated sugar (for sprinkling)
    Confectioners’ sugar (for sprinkling)


    1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Butter 2 large ramekins, heatproof bowls, or heatproof coffee mugs (1 cup capacity or more each).

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    2. Cut the rolls into ½-inch pieces.

    3. In a bowl, lightly whisk the eggs, milk, granulated sugar, vanilla, and lemon rind. Add the bread and use a rubber spatula to stir the bread in the liquid until all the cubes are soaked.

    4. Divide half the bread mixture between the baking dishes. Divide the raisins or cranberries between the dishes. Cover with the remaining bread mixture, mounding it in the dishes, if necessary. Pour any liquid in the bowl over the tops. Sprinkle the tops with granulated sugar.

    5. Set the dishes in a small baking dish to catch the drips. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the puddings are puffed and browned and a skewer inserted into the custard comes out clean. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

    Sheryl Julian can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @sheryljulian.