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Lidia Bastianich's Cherry Bread Pudding

Lidia Bastianich's Chunky Cherry Bread Pudding
Lidia Bastianich's Chunky Cherry Bread PuddingNathan Congleton / TODAY

Chef notes

Bread pudding is one of my favorite desserts to make. It's not overly sweet and once you have the basic recipe you can change the fruits and flavorings based on whatever you have on hand. I also love the idea of using up day-old bread.


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup plus
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 cups brioche or other rich egg bread, day-old, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup halved pitted Bing cherries, fresh or frozen (thawed if frozen)
  • 6 tablespoons chunky cherry preserves
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds



Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring a kettle of water to a boil and keep it hot.


Coat the bottom and sides of a 2-quart oval or rectangular baking dish with the softened butter. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sugar on the buttered surfaces; tilt and shake the pan so it's evenly sugared.


Stir together another 1/4 cup of the sugar with the cinnamon in a small bowl.


Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until thoroughly blended. Gradually pour in the cream, milk, the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, salt and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.


Stir the bread cubes into the custard, pushing them down so they're all submerged, and stir in the cherries. Let the bread soak for 15 minutes.


Spoon the pudding into the baking dish, and drop teaspoonfuls of the preserves on top, distributing evenly, then scatter the almonds on top. Finally, sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.


Put the pudding dish inside a roasting pan, and set the pan in the oven. Carefully pour the boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake the pudding until the top is golden brown and crusty and the custard is set, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes (a knife blade inserted into the custard should come out clean). Remove from the oven, and let the pudding cool in the water bath until you can safely remove it. Serve warm.