So, it was just this past Thanksgiving that I wrote about a certain bread pudding experience in which my family was less than impressed with my culinary efforts.
I won’t relive the pain here today.
However, I was thrilled on Monday when I made the perfect cinnamon raisin bread pudding that even my sister, Sierra, loved, the very same sister who had turned up her nose on a certain Thanksgiving day a few years back. (Oh wait, I wasn’t going to go there.)

To quote her from Facebook that night:

For the record, I like bread pudding and I swear from this day forward to eat it every time my sister makes it even if there is pumpkin pie available.

A recipe that evokes that kind of response has to be shared.
I actually found the recipe while waiting for my mom and aunt at Panera on Sunday. The recipe was so persuasive, I bought a loaf of their cinnamon raisin bread on the spot. I’m sure you could substitute another cinnamon raisin bread however.
So, direct from the Panera bakery: Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup orange juice (I used pear cinnamon juice from Trader Joes)
8 slices Panera Cinnamon Raisin bread cut into 1″ cubes
3 t. melted butter (plus extra for brushing pan)
2 cups milk
3 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brush a 2-quart casserole dish with melted butter.
Combine raisins and juice in a bowl and allow to soak for 15 minutes.
Place cinnamon raisin bread cubes in a large bowl. Add melted butter. Toss to coat.
Spread buttered bread cubes on a cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven until golden brown. Allow to cool.
Evenly distribute cooled bread cubes in the casserole dish.
Top bread cubes with soaked raisins so they are evenly distributed.
In a medium bowl, whisk milk, eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved and mixture is smooth.
Pour mixture over bread cubes and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
Place in oven and bake until center is set, approximately 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool 15 minutes before serving. Serve with whipping cream.

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Today, I am joining Ann Kroeker for Food on Fridays when she discusses all things food. Since I am a bit of a foodie myself, I plan to join her discussion often. Stop by and visit her yourself, too!