A wonderful holiday breakfast or dessert, this cranberry bread pudding with rum cream sauce is sure to put you in a festive mood!
Bread pudding is quite possibly the coziest dessert ever invented. I mean, there’s the bread—so much glorious bread! And then the vanilla-scented custard. Oh, and don’t forget the texture, which is soft and delightfully eggy, like French toast but with the decadence factor turned up to a 10. This cranberry bread pudding is full of warming spices, tart cranberries, toasty pecans, and rum.
Make that double rum.
There’s rum in the bread pudding and rum in the sauce. So if you love rum, this dessert will be your jam. (And in that case, make sure you try my Banana Rum Caramel Crunch Bread Pudding too!) A creme anglaise, homemade whipped cream, or even a scoop of vanilla ice cream will do in a pinch, but I definitely recommend making the rum sauce—it really brings out all the flavors in the bread pudding.
What You’ll Need
While the ingredient list here looks long, if you take out the spices, sugar, and other ingredients you probably have on hand, it’s much more manageable!
For the bread pudding:
- French bread – The bread can be stale or fresh, since you’ll toast it in the oven.
- Dried cranberries
- Rum – Rum is pretty essential for this recipe. If you prefer not to bake or cook with alcohol, try my Blueberry Coconut Bread Pudding.
- Fat-free half-and-half
- Brown sugar – I recommend using light brown sugar for this recipe.
- Egg yolks – Cold eggs separate more easily than room temperature ones, so keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to crack them!
- Ground cloves
- Pecans – They’ll need to be chopped, so save yourself some money and buy pecan pieces instead of whole pecans.
For the rum sauce:
- Heavy cream
How to Make Cranberry Bread Pudding with Rum Cream Sauce
This recipe is pretty standard for bread pudding, with the exception that you’ll need to stew the cranberries first.
Prepare. Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Place the bread cubes on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake until dry and crisp, about 12 minutes, stirring halfway through the baking time. Reduce the oven temperature to 300ºF.
Stew the cranberries. Combine the dried cranberries and rum in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then let the cranberries stew for about 3 minutes. Remove from the stovetop and set aside.
Make the custard. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the half-and-half, milk, brown sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, and spices. Drain the rum from the stewed cranberries into the custard, reserving the cranberries for later. Stir to combine.
Assemble. Transfer the bread to the custard mixture and toss to coat. Let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes, then pour half into the bottom of a greased 2-quart or 13×9″ baking dish. Sprinkle this with half of the cranberries and pecans, then pour the remaining bread mixture over the top. Combine the remaining pecans, sugar, and butter in a small dish and sprinkle this over the top, along with the rest of the cranberries.
Bake. Cover the dish and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and cool on a wire rack for a bit, then serve warm with the rum sauce.
Make the rum sauce. Whisk the cornstarch and rum in a small saucepan, then whisk in the cream, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer, whisking until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, then spoon over the bread pudding.
Tips for Success
Here are some hints and tips for making this cranberry bread pudding:
- Use a rum that’s in your budget. There’s no need to splurge on an expensive bottle here—you’re not mixing it into cocktails or drinking it straight, so if the rum isn’t the best of the best, no one’s going to notice!
- Opt for a sturdy bread. If you want to use a different bread in this recipe, I suggest one with a similar texture to French bread. Brioche and challah make a lovely bread pudding, but you want something sturdy here so it can stand up to all the add-ins rather than just melting into the custard.
- Know when it’s done. For a fool-proof method of knowing when bread pudding is done baking, insert a food thermometer into the center; if it has reached 160ºF, you’re good to go.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Store the bread pudding and the rum sauce separately. I usually wrap the pudding in the baking dish, but if there’s not much left, you can transfer it to an airtight storage container. The sauce can also be stored in a container or jar. Both will last up to 4 days in the fridge. I suggest reheating the sauce on the stovetop over low heat and microwaving the bread pudding or warming it up in a 350ºF oven.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
I don’t recommend freezing the sauce, but bread pudding can be wrapped well and frozen for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat it in the microwave or oven as described above.