New Orleans Style Bread Pudding | Renee's Kitchen Adventures

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New Orleans Style Bread Pudding

"Laissez les bons temps rouler!" 

When I was in New Orleans several years ago, I had the most incredible bread pudding. It was served aboard the steamboat Natchez. Along with a tour of the Mississippi river, they offer a lunch and a dinner.  I highly recommend taking either the lunch or the dinner cruise. This southern bread pudding was served for dessert on the lunch cruise.

New Orleans Style Bread Pudding was a taste I had never experienced before. I couldn't believe that  nestled in this pudding, was canned fruit cocktail! Who would have guessed this southern bread pudding made with canned fruit cocktail could be so delicious?

Well, it was delicious, and I was determined to find a recipe to duplicate it for what has become my family's tradition of celebrating Mardi Gras.  Fortunately, I was given a cookbook as a gift later that same year and low and behold, there was a recipe for this very regional version of bread pudding.  I quickly assembled the ingredients and made a batch, and I have to say, very close to the southern bread pudding I enjoyed in the Big Easy.

Since tonight is my WW meeting, I decided we would celebrate Mardi Gras a day early, so last night we had a lightened up version of Jambalaya and I made this southern bread pudding.  It brought me right back to New Orleans!

I made a few adjustments to the original Southern bread pudding recipe I found:

  • This bread pudding is meant to be made with New Orleans French bread...which obviously is not something I can find up here in Ohio. But, I have made it in the past with Italian, locally made French, and Sourdough bread with really great results.  I made the pudding pictured below with Pepperidge Farm Sourdough bread.  
  • I used fruit that was canned in 100% fruit juice, instead of heavy syrup.   
  • I subbed full fat milk for a combination of skim and fat free half and half, also with really good results, as I have used whole milk in the past and honestly, can't really taste the difference.  
  • I decreased the amount of sugar called for in the original recipe by half.  (You get quite a bit of sweetness from the fruit itself.)  
  • It is delicious served warm or cold. Traditionally this is served with some sort of alcohol infused sauce or cream, but for the sake of my waistline, I chose not to make any.  :)  You could dress it up with fat free cool whip, if you like, without adding any extra calories.

New Orleans Style Bread Pudding
 adapted from The New Orleans Cookbook by Rima and
Richard Collin

Servings - 12   Serving size - 1/12th of recipe    PP per serving - 6 points+
Calories - 211.4,   Total Fat - 6.1g,   Carb. - 33.7g,   Protein - 5.6g,   Fiber - 0.8g

2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup fat free half and half
10 cups of cubed day old  white bread, such as French, Italian, or Sourdough ( 1" - 2" cubes)
1  14-oz. can of fruit cocktail (take out the cherries) in 100% juice, drained
1 14-oz. can of diced peaches in 100% juice, drained ( or cut up slices if you can't find diced)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice (optional)
1/2 tsp. salt


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Combine milk and fat free half and half in a pan and heat until just scaled.  ( I heated mine in the microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes in a 4 cup glass measure).  Set aside.

2.  In large bowl, combine the bread cubes, drained canned fruit, and butter.  Pour in the milk mixture and gently mix to combine.  

3.  In a small bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  Whisk well.  Pour into the bread cube mixture and combine.  

4.  Pour pudding into a 9" x 13" glass baking dish that has been coated in cooking spray.  Bake uncovered for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until knife inserted into center comes out clean and top begins to brown and form a crust.  Allow to cool to room temperature, cut into 12 pieces and serve warm or cold.  Enjoy!

As I mentioned, my family likes to celebrate Mardi Gras...but it isn't because we have any heritage in New just seems like a great time to celebrate as spring is just around the corner and we are pretty done with winter by this time of year.  Plus, my boys love all things Cajun!  :)  It has always been fun teaching my kids some culture through regional food favorites.  We have celebrated in the past with red beans and rice, jambalaya, king cake, packzi ( what can I say?  we do have some Polish heritage!)  and this delicious bread pudding.  I put on Cajun music during dinner and it's a really fun way to enjoy some family time! 
Do you celebrate Mardi Gras?  What do you do to celebrate if you do? 


  1. Currently drooling! LOVE bread pudding- never heard of putting canned fruit cocktail in the middle- what a fun touch. Glad you enjoyed the early celebration

  2. Looks wonderful! I've never been to New Orleans - some day!

    My husband loves red beans and rice, but since he's on a low fiber diet for the next month, we'll have to wait. :D

  3. I would LOVE to go to New Orleans one day!!! The bread pudding looks SOOOO good! Friends of ours make chocolate bread pudding - it's delicous and SOOOOO not weight watchers friendly. Have a great day. (good luck at your WI)

  4. I LOVE bread pudding! I never get to make it since that means I would "have" to eat it all myself :P Looks delicious, Renee!

  5. Never had bread pudding but your recipe looks fabulous! Happy mardi gras!

  6. Did I ever tell you that my husband's family owns several restaurants? That bread pudding recipe is a family staple, along with really good oyster dressing. Anyhow, any New Orleanian recipe you'd like, just ask. Glad to know you celebrate.
    Every year that I've lived in California, I wake up and remember that it's not just another Tuesday back home and then I go to missing New Orleans for the rest of the day.

  7. Any chance you might share your lightened up jambalaya recipe too?? :)


  8. The bread pudding sounds lovely. Properly made they are one of God's gift to men. I'd love to have a piece of this tonight. A perfect last treat before Lent begins. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  9. @ Mel...know I didn't know that! How cool.

    @ Kassie...I didn't get any pictures! Next time I make it, I will post the recipe. Its very easy to make!

  10. Looks good! :) Hope all is well!

  11. My daughter and son-in-law live in New Orleans so I get to experience Mardi Gras vicariously through them. :)


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