Strawberry Brioche Bread Pudding | Fourth of July

recipe for strawberry bread pudding

It makes me feel terribly old to ask where the time goes or to ponder how time slips away from us without warning, but I think these thoughts. I do it often. Even though I find this type of thing is akin to pointless chatter about the weather, there’s really no escaping such musings when a little babe is shooting up before your very eyes.

She is a captivating little red fox, that one, but I managed to pull myself away from her for a moment today in order to take a good look at the calendar. Lo and behold, it’s July 1st. And, accordingly, I feel compelled to ask where did June go? It was fleeting. That is certain, but it was also extraordinarily lovely. It was just what I needed. It was just what Maeve needed. We are both refreshed and joyously connected.  I know all of her little peeps and sounds. I know her tired face, her sad face, and her squeals of wonder.  I love them all, of course.

In addition to all this learning and connecting, we had a lot to celebrate last month. We celebrated my birthday, K’s first father’s day, and Maeve’s half birthday. That’s right. She’s 6 months old. It’s a wonder, isn’t it? And, during our brief respite, she learned to sit up on her own, began the painful teething process, and started routinely giggling at anyone and everyone. She rolls over with ease, explores new foods with vigor, and can stick both sets of toes in her mouth at the same time. The amount of new things she absorbs everyday makes my brain sort of hurt. It’s remarkable.

Suffice to say, June was pretty fantastic and I recall several moments of sheer clarity. However, as I desperately tried to figure out the natural rhythms of Maeve’s sleep cycle, there were more than a few crazy moments. There was the time I chased a giant fly about the house for fear it would wake up my tired girl. There was the mean Fed Ex man who pounded on the door prompting me to post a hot pink sign begging people not to disturb us. We even went so far as to oil every door in the house so the squeaks wouldn’t wake up our girl during her restorative naps. The doors now fly open like butter, but I suppose that’s better than those unpredictable creaks.

Maeve also suffered her first bout of illness during June. And, I won’t lie. It nearly broke my heart. The sneezing and coughing were sad and more than a little terrifying. So scary were those wheezes that I found myself in a clinic in San Francisco on Memorial Day. It certainly wasn’t what I envisioned for our getaway weekend, but, in the end, my worry and the extra gray hairs were unnecessary. Maeve was merely suffering from a nasty virus. It also turned out the clinic where we brought her out of desperation was a marijuana dispensary. You can all rest assured, however. Maeve’s virus didn’t qualify her for herbal treatment, but I do think she inadvertently took her first whiff of the stuff. I suppose I should be grateful I was there to supervise the momentous occasion.

When we floated out of the clinic, we were more than a little relieved. We were also delighted to find ourselves within walking distance of Tartine Bakery. Is there a better place to find oneself after a hard morning of fret at the pot clinic? I think not. In fact, in the future, I will try to remember this day for the miraculous strawberry bread pudding I had at the bakery and not the series of unfortunate events that preceded it.

You can see a picture of the Tartine bread pudding above. Miraculous, I tell you, is an understatement. The Tartine bread pudding was moist with a rich custard and just the right amount of tartness from the early summer strawberries. It was sweet, but not cloyingly so. The bread still seemed remarkably light despite the fact that it was soaked in custard and laced with a generous helping of homemade caramel.  And, I’ll be honest, a day hasn’t passed during which the thought of recreating that strawberry bread pudding hasn’t crossed my mind.

tartine bread pudding

I figure the time is right. After all, the Fourth of July is just around the corner. You are very likely headed to a barbecue or, quite possibly, you are hosting some sort of patriotic affair in your own backyard. Whatever the case may be, you were probably going to make a strawberry shortcake. It’s a standard dessert. It’s also delicious. There is really nothing wrong with strawberry shortcake. I like it a great deal. However, you should skip it this year. I think you’re ready for a little something different. This strawberry bread pudding is just the ticket. It’s not the Tartine recipe, mind you. I don’t have that recipe, but I did my research and my taste testing. I am more than satisfied with the outcome.

strawberry bread pudding recipe

The key to a wonderful strawberry bread pudding is the dark brown sugar that caramelizes in the bottom of the pan, which mixes beautifully into the custard, and egg bread. Of course, plenty of good berries are essential as well. In the end, you’ve got a delicious helping of bread pudding and a truly pretty dessert for nearly no effort. Although it does take some time to bake, I think you’ll find strawberry bread pudding even easier to put together than your standard strawberry shortcake.

Let me know what you think. Maybe this strawberry bread pudding will make your day? Take the edge off a medical emergency? Either way, it’s a great option for your next picnic. Happy Fourth of July!

Strawberry Brioche Bread Pudding

1 and 1/4 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
4 and 1/2 cups 1/2-inch cubes crustless egg bread (such as challah or brioche)
7 large eggs
2 cups half and half
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 pinches of salt
2 and 1/2 cups sliced and hulled organic fresh strawberries

Spread brown sugar evenly in bottom of 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish (or other 9- to 10-cup dish). Sprinkle bread cubes evenly over. Combine eggs, cream, milk, 2 tablespoons sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt in large bowl; whisk to blend well. Pour custard through sieve over bread in dish. Spread the strawberries over the top of the bread and mix into the cubes and custard. Let the pudding stand 30 minutes, occasionally pressing on the bread and berries to submerge.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Place baking dish in roasting pan. Pour enough lukewarm water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of baking dish. Bake pudding until set, brown on top, and small knife inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Let cool in water 20 minutes.

Spoon bread pudding into dessert bowls and serve warm.

Adapted from Bon Appetit.

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42 Comments

  • July 2, 2011 - | Permalink

    I am always on the hunt for a better bread pudding recipe that isn’t terribly rich. Love the idea of brown sugar in the bottom. And fresh strawberries? How can it get any better?

  • July 2, 2011 - | Permalink

    Time does flow, indeed! That first picture of Maeve is priceless and so cute.

    A wonderful pudding! I’d love to visit Tartine Bakery.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  • Kristy
    July 2, 2011 - | Permalink

    I am so glad you were able to take some time off and SO happy to have you back! :)

  • July 2, 2011 - | Permalink

    Maeve is such a little cutie. Glad to hear she’s feeling better. I absolutely adore Tartine- you lucky girl that you got to visit, even if it did require a frantic visit to a pot dispensary for medical care. Only in SFC :-) Your strawberry bread pudding was just as divine as Tartine’s, I’m sure.

  • July 2, 2011 - | Permalink

    Oh, man, every time I see you post a recipe, it’s one I can hardly resist! Gonna make this very soon.

    Welcome back, congrats on being refreshed!

  • July 2, 2011 - | Permalink

    I’ve been missing your posts (though who am I to talk, considering I haven’t posted in months) and was excited when I saw a new post in my reader to hear how you and Maeve have been doing. I can remember when Jonathan was a baby how I had memorized where every creak was in our floors in order to hop around them in order to keep from waking him – as for Kathryn, she is more laid back and constantly being woken by her brother, so I’ve given up hope for any regular sleep schedule (at least at this point), but she seems to weather it okay for now. The strawberry bread pudding sounds amazing – I recently made a strawberry cake that turned out better than expected and now I am afraid I won’t be satisfied until I try this! Happy July! – xo, laura.

    • redmenace
      July 2, 2011 - | Permalink

      Laura,
      Thanks so much for your sweet note. I miss your posts too! It’s really lovely to hear from you. Isn’t it amazing that our little ones are already developing their own unique personalities and tastes? It’s truly wonderful. I’m loving motherhood and, from the sound of it, you’re enjoying this second little bundle too. So fantastic!
      xoxo
      Robin

  • July 2, 2011 - | Permalink

    One year in their life is like many years in ours. They go through everything, smiling, looking at things, rolling, biting, eating, walking, talking…..impressive but true.
    Enjoy her, one day you´ll realise she´s already walking and calling you.

  • July 2, 2011 - | Permalink

    I’m so glad your month of was refreshing! I’m also equally happy that you’re back :). Babies grow so quickly! Every time I go see my best friend’s son it’s like he’s mastered 8 new things.

  • July 2, 2011 - | Permalink

    Welcome back to blogland! That recipe looks amazing…happy 4th!

  • July 2, 2011 - | Permalink

    Such a great post!! I’m loving that you resorted to oiling the doors :)
    Your bread pudding looks fantastic! I think I shall try it!!

  • July 3, 2011 - | Permalink

    Welcome back Robin- I hope you and little fox had a lovely month off. What a lovely and festive return post!

  • July 3, 2011 - | Permalink

    wow.wowwwww. Bread and butter pudding is my all time Achilles heel in the dessert world, I cant resist the stuff, so I can only imaginneee how amazing this tastes! Lovely summery spin on what I would class as a pretty wintery pud, now i have an excuse to eat it all year round! :)

  • July 3, 2011 - | Permalink

    Bread pudding = my favorite. Strawberries = my other favorite. How much better can you get? I have got to try this! Thanks!

  • July 3, 2011 - | Permalink

    June sounds like it was eventful indeed! LOL at the pot clinic. Only in Cali (or at least not in Virginia)! Glad Maeve turned out to be fine and thanks for this amazing looking treat.

  • July 3, 2011 - | Permalink

    Such a lovely picture of the bread pudding!!

  • July 3, 2011 - | Permalink

    ironically enough, the last time I was in SF I also had to go to the emergency room. Not fun!. I’m glad you’re cute bun is well now, she’s so adorable!
    Also, I love bread puddings with fruit and I love brioche more than I can express, so this is the perfect combination for me!

  • July 3, 2011 - | Permalink

    i love how much FRUIT is crammed into that bread pudding!

  • July 4, 2011 - | Permalink

    It is amazing, isn’t it, how time flies? And you now have a beautiful little one that you can actually see growing and changing, which is so incredible.

  • July 4, 2011 - | Permalink

    Scary yet amazing and wonderful how time flies! I can’t believe she is already over 6 months old! The bread pudding looks amazing….oh if only I could eat that right now :( Hope you and K are well and enjoying finally some beautiful weather and sunshine xoxo

  • Sharon
    July 5, 2011 - | Permalink

    Ok, that strawberrry bread pudding looks amazing… That goes without saying.

    But the take-your-baby-to-an-urgent-care-clinic-and-end-up-in-a-marijuana-dispensary? ONLY in the Bay Area!! I’m laughing so hard. (I live in Moraga, but lived in SF for 9.5 years and had my first kid there.) LOVE that story!!

    • redmenace
      July 10, 2011 - | Permalink

      Sharon,
      Thanks so much for your sweet comment. A fellow Californian!

      I grew up in SF and I guess I shouldn’t be surprised about the pot clinic. When Maeve turns 21, I’ll tell her that story!

      xoxox
      Robin

  • July 5, 2011 - | Permalink

    Sounds lovely! I may have to try it with bananas and chocolate too!

    The Dinner Belle for Kimberlybelle.com

  • July 6, 2011 - | Permalink

    Oh my goodness, they sound so much alike, the 6 month mark has passed and they are big babies now, I couldn’t help but giggle at the picture of Maeve in her Bumbo, this is one I snapped of Freddie some time ago in our garden:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/agawala/5860973270/in/set-72157625904580819

    x

    • redmenace
      July 10, 2011 - | Permalink

      What an adorable picture! He is such a sweet boy. I’m so happy for you! How are you enjoying this phase? I think it’s the perfect age for lots of summer fun! xoxoxo

      • July 13, 2011 - | Permalink

        It is the best time of the year and this age is just perfect, not moving too much, interacting, smiling a lot, just adorable. Your girl is beautiful. x

  • July 6, 2011 - | Permalink

    6 months?! NO way. Time really does fly. Good to see you’re still getting your bake on. Your baking makes us happy (as do those adorable baby feet!)

  • July 6, 2011 - | Permalink

    Yay you are back!! :)

    It is so nice to read your stories and enjoy the beautiful pictures! Hope you got some rest in June!

  • July 7, 2011 - | Permalink

    I’m a little behind on my blogs this week! Glad to have you back – your posts have been missed and the bread pudding looks divine!

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  • July 10, 2011 - | Permalink

    Too bad I’ve been living under a very large rock lately, or I could have done this during the tail-end of strawberry season! Rest assured the recipe is tucked away, to be used for a special early summer occasion next year. Preferably I’ll have many hungry mouths over to feed it to, because I can foresee portion control issues… Glad to hear Maeve is better to begin her next six months!

    Cheers,

    *Heather*

  • July 11, 2011 - | Permalink

    So nice to have you back Robin! I, along with everyone else, have missed your lovely photos, witty prose, and scrumptious recipes. I am glad you took a break and think about doing the same on an almost weekly basis. How I remember those creeping-around-the-house-during-a-nap days. We had a piece of masking tape over our doorbell and yet people still rang it. You will survive this first year, I promise you! I hope I have an occasion to give this pudding a try before the strawberries vanish from the markets.

  • July 12, 2011 - | Permalink

    Hello Robin,

    Nice to see you back! Looks like you had a nice break and are refreshed, as well–good for you! It was fun reading your entry and relating a lot with the development milestones Maeve is reaching–as Gabriel is not far behind in age and is also going through a similar stage. :) It’s so much fun to see them change! He also got his first cold and we went straight to the doctor…I guess it is the time when all things go in the mouth so they are more susceptible to germs. Of course he was the one who was acting all fine and I’m the one like, ‘oh my poor baby!’…I’m sure you can relate.

    Thanks for your notes recently over at my ‘place’…I’m loving reading ‘Animal, Vegetable, Miracle’.

    Take care!

    Julia

  • July 12, 2011 - | Permalink

    oh, and how did i not catch this until AFTER strawberry season?!

    blackberries. i’m thinking blackberries…

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  • July 18, 2011 - | Permalink

    What a great bread pudding, and perfect for celebrating the 4th of July! I made a bread pudding for the 4th as well, red white and blue of course, hehe. I actually host a “Bread Pudding of the Month Club” on my blog and would love for you to link up your recipe this month! Please check it out here: http://www.mission-food.com/2011/07/bread-pudding-roundup-june-2011.html.

  • February 23, 2012 - | Permalink

    I’m so gonna make it! Beautiful pictures :)

    • redmenace
      February 23, 2012 - | Permalink

      Hi Maja,
      Thanks for your comment. I hope you enjoy the bread pudding!
      xo
      Robin

  • tiyanna
    April 3, 2012 - | Permalink

    So weird, I just happened to have some challah & Costco sized carton of strawberries. I wanted to make bread pudding but binged strawberry bread pudding. Poof, there you were! It’s in it’s oven bath as we speak. Hope I make it right… >_<
    Thanks for this recipe!

  • May 4, 2012 - | Permalink

    I love bread pudding.This looks like a very good recipe. I am from Everett. We are almost neighbors.
    I started my blog one month ago http://leascooking.blogspot.com/
    Its very exiting for me. Thanks for the recipe.

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