Bread pudding is a dessert that sounds okay at best, but is, in reality, crazy delicious. It’s kind of like my ideal French toast—cinnamon, custardy, and sweet. In this recipe, you’ll take spicy gingerbread and combine it with eggnog, apples, and chewy currants, then bake it slowly and serve it warm with whipped cream for a tasty and unexpected holiday take on the original. Serve it as dessert, or put it together the night before, then pop it in the oven in the morning for a decadent breakfast or brunch dish.

Although this requires you to make gingerbread AND THEN to make a bread pudding out of it, it is definitely worth it in the end when you’re tucking into custardy gingerbread deliciousness. If you’re using a mix for the gingerbread, I’d recommend either the mix from King Arthur Flour or Trader Joe’s. You can do this up to 3 days before you make the bread pudding—it actually works a little better if the gingerbread has dried out a bit.

If you’re not using a mix, my one-bowl recipe follows at the end of this one—just note that you want regular (or even light) molasses, NOT blackstrap molasses, which is what I used once, and it was SO BITTER AND NOT GOOD AT ALL. I mean, I still ate it, because it was dessert. But I won’t make that mistake again, and you shouldn’t have to make it even once.

You’ll need:

  • ½ loaf gingerbread (from the store or a mix or the recipe below)*
  • 1 McIntosh or green apple
  • ½ C currants
  • 1½ C eggnog
  • 1 C milk
  • 2 jumbo or 3 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/3 C brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp salt

Butter a 9” square baking pan and set it aside.

Cut the gingerbread into ½” cubes, then add to the prepared pan. Peel and core the apple, then dice it into chunks about the size of a 2-brick Lego. Add the apple on top of the gingerbread. Scatter the currants on top and set the pan aside.

Put the eggnog and milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. You want to heat it up until it’s just starting to bubble along the edges. It will take a few minutes, just whisk it every so often.

While the milk heats up, add the eggs, yolks, sugar, vanilla, and spices to a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

Once your milk starts to bubble lightly at the edges (it should be steaming just a tiny bit), it’s ready. It should look like this.

Take ½ of the hot milk mixture and add it to the eggs in a stream as you whisk it swiftly. This will help to get the eggs up to temperature, so they don’t scramble in the heat. Pour the rest of the milk into the egg mixture, whisking as you do so. Once it’s all combined, pour it through a sieve into prepared pan. No matter how hard I try to temper egg mixtures, there is always a tiny bit that scrambles, and it’s best to strain that out.

Press the gingerbread down into the liquid, cover the pan with aluminum foil, and let it sit at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight. If you’re letting it sit longer than 30 minutes, move it to the fridge when it’s no longer hot.

To bake the pudding, preheat your oven to 350F. It’s going to bake in a water bath, which is not a spa service. It just means the gingerbread pan will be inside of another pan with water in it. Cooking it this way will help to keep the pudding nice and creamy. So put the square pan inside of a larger baking pan, and pour water into the larger pan about halfway up the sides of the gingerbread pan. Place the pan in the oven.

The pudding needs to bake 60-90 minutes, it will depend on your oven. Give it a jiggle around 60 minutes to see how it’s setting. Take the foil off and continue baking 20-30 minutes, or until it’s set.

Cut into squares and serve hot, with whipped cream. Enjoy your new favorite holiday dessert!

*One-Bowl Gingerbread

  • 2 1/3 C flour
  • ½ C butter, softened
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • ¾ C molasses (make sure it’s not blackstrap molasses!)
  • ¾ C hot water
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp mace
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 egg

Preheat the oven to 325F and grease the bottom and sides of a 9” square baking pan.

Add all of the ingredients to a bowl, and mix on low for 30 seconds. Mix on medium about 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally. Pour the batter in your pan and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean.

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