Bread Pudding with Bing Cherry Syrup

Bread Pudding With Cherry Syrup

Anne Leonard

First things first: I love bread. I adore croissants, French toast, foccacia and sourdough. But when it becomes the foundation of a dessert, my love for bread reaches an unrivaled grandiosity. Bread pudding first swept me away during my junior year of college. My friend and I had just finished our oddball combination of food from the dining hall. This often entailed mac and cheese, pizza, a side salad and spanakopita…all on one tray. When I thought I was through with carbs for the evening, my eyes wandered over to dessert. “Bread pudding." I read. "What’s that?” Growing up my family was all about pieslemon meringue, chocolate with meringue, okay you get the picture.

“You haven’t had bread pudding?” Without warning she served me a hefty helping, and because of her I’ve tried every bread pudding in sight since then. I’ve had the fancy types served under a toasted gourmet marshmallow to the traditional style drenched in solely butter and sugar sauce.

If you haven’t had the yeast rolls from Norfolk-based bakery Whole-ly Rollers, do yourself a favor, and put them at the top of your grocery list. They are typically baked the morning of so they can be purchased warm, moist, subtly sweet like Hawaiian or brioche bread. I bought them from the nicest lady at the Old Beach Farmer’s Market as a dozen, but the husband and I couldn’t control ourselves and ate three which is why this recipe calls for 9 yeast rolls.

For the purpose of this recipe I wanted to lean on more of the decadent side but without adding all the sugar that most bread pudding recipes demand. Instead, I allowed the ingredients to add their own sweet dose. The yeast rolls in themselves are a treat, and the coconut milk adds a richness all on its own to keep the bread pudding delightfully moist. The golden raisins lend a chewy and sweet factor as well, but the highlight of this pudding is truly in the topping. No butter or brown sugar to be found here; the cherries have taken over. Once the bread pudding is baked, pour the cherry syrup, and the bite is without a doubt bold, like a lovely glass of Port.

 Start with yeast rolls

Bread pudding

9 stale Whole-ly Rollers yeast rolls*, torn into small pieces (about 8 cups)

1/2 cup golden raisins

3 eggs

1 cup coconut milk

1 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

*It goes without saying other bread can be substituted for the yeast rolls, but I wouldn’t advise it.


Preheat oven to 325°. Place torn bread into a 10x7 baking dish. 

Bread should be torn into pieces

Scatter golden raisins across the top. 

Add Raisans to bread pudding mixture

Whisk together eggs, coconut milk, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar and salt. Pour mixture over bread and allow it to absorb. Press down with your fingers or a fork to soak the bread in as much as possible. Don't fret if it seems like your bread is drowning. I've found that bread pudding is forgiving. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and crusty on the top as well as springy, not spongy when pressed.

 Additional flavorings are added

While baking, make the cherry syrup.

 Fresh cherries for the topping

Cherry Syrup

1/3 cup sugar

About ¼ cup Grand Marnier (or an individual 50 ml bottle)

¾ cup water

1 1/2 cups bing cherries, pitted

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp honey

Yield: About a cup and a half


Boil sugar, Grand Marnier and water on high heat for 5 minutes. Stir until sugar dissolves.

Add cherries, balsamic vinegar and honey. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 10–15 minutes until a thick, syrupy consistency is reached. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving over bread pudding.

 Cherries are made into a syrup

Bread pudding recipe inspired by The Kitchn.

Cherry syrup inspired by The Summertime Market.

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