Freezer Friendly Hawaiian Bread Pudding
I recently made lots and lots of pans of this tropical bread pudding – studded with pineapple, coconut, bananas, and oranges – for a huge fund raising dinner. People have been raving about it and begging for the recipe ever since. One happy diner proclaimed “This is insanely good. It is too good for bread pudding — I don’t even like bread pudding — you need to call this Hawaiian Cobbler!”
Whatever you decide to call it, this recipe makes a delicious dessert that feeds a crowd. Despite it being simple and easy to prepare, it always impresses. People who claim to not like desserts will chow down on a big bowl and go back for seconds, so make lots.
I like to freeze the pans of bread pudding before baking, but this is a versatile and forgiving dessert. If you make too much and have leftovers after baking (not likely), you can also freeze the baked leftovers and reheat in a microwave or wrapped in a conventional oven. Alternately, you don’t have to freeze at all — make ahead and keep covered in the fridge for up to a day before baking. Use fresh or canned pineapple and oranges, both work fine.
Makes 1 (12″ x 10″) Pan, 14 to 16 Servings
butter for greasing pan
1 loaf (1 pound, 8 ounces) Hawaiian sweet bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 cup flaked coconut
1 cup pineapple tidbits
1 cup mandarin orange segments
2 medium bananas, cut into tiny chunks
1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup dark rum
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon coconut extract, optional
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon nutmeg
whipped cream for serving, optional
Butter a large 12″ x 10″ baking pan (or more smaller pans that will meet your portion needs).
In a large bowl, toss together bread cubes, flaked coconut, pineapple tidbits, orange segments, and diced banana until well mixed. Spread evenly in prepared pan(s).
In the same bowl, beat together coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, half and half, rum, eggs, sugar, and extracts until well blended and frothy. Pour liquid over bread mixture to soak. At this point you have 3 choices:
1. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 50 to 60 minutes or until set and top is beginning to brown.
2. Cover pan(s) with foil and refrigerate.
3. Cover pan(s) with foil and freeze.
Bake refrigerated pans (or frozen pans that have been thawed in the refrigerator) at 350 degree for 50 to 60 minutes or until set and top is beginning to brown.
Bake frozen pans at 375 degree for about 1 1/2 hours or until cooked through and top is beginning to brown. Serve warm or chilled, with or without a topping of whipped cream.