What happened to simple, easy bread pudding? You can find it on all kinds of fancy menus these days, where it’s been “elevated,” as Chef Gordon Ramsay might say. And I love an “elevated” bread pudding as much as the next person, but an easy weeknight dessert, when the kids (or their parents, ahem) need a little treat at the end of the day, is also lovely.

Bread pudding is the perfect dish for a home cook on a budget because it actually makes use of stale bread and those last couple of apples or pears no one will eat because they’re a bruised or they’ve started to go soft.

Yeah, I know that doesn’t sound wildly appealing, but trust me, this back-to-basics bread pudding recipe is how I get an easy dessert into my weeknight, and de-elevate a classic homemade dessert.

Related: Keep your kitchen cool with these 10 easy no-bake dessert recipes

Easy Bread Pudding with Apples or Pears

This recipe is so simple, you probably have all of the ingredients in your kitchen right now. And once you have the basic recipe down, you can play with the dish all you want.

Add a handful of chocolate chips. Or nuts, or raisins. Whatever you like! But here’s how to get started.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter, plus a little more to grease the dish
2 cups cubed apples or pears (2-3 pieces of fruit)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice (from about a half a fresh lemon)
4 cups cubed bread
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon powdered cinnamon

Directions

1. Butter a small casserole dish, large enough to hold at least 6 cups, and preheat the oven to 350ºF.

2. In a large bowl, toss cubed fruit with sugar and lemon juice and let sit for at least 10 minutes.

3. Heat butter in a pan on the stove and add apple mixture; sauté on low until slightly softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

4. Pour apple mixture into the bowl over the bread cubes.

5. Whisk together remaining ingredients (eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon) and pour over fruit and bread.

6. Transfer to buttered dish and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until pudding is set and top is lightly browned.

Would this bread pudding be even more delicious with ice cream? Of course it would!

How to make an easy weeknight Bread Pudding recipe for dessert: It even cuts back on food waste, using up bread and bruised apples or pears you may have! | Recipe by Anne Wolfe Postic for Cool Mom Eats

Note: Dessert can be mixed before dinner and popped in the oven whenever you’re ready.

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