Bread pudding is the best dessert. There, I said it. Definitively, just the best. The tossing together of otherwise quotidian ingredients, a quick stir, a spin in the oven, and holy moly, it's alchemy. Old, stale bread becomes a moist, decadent doughy pudding-cake that is deep in flavor but as easy as pie to make.
And it's so forgiving, it's truly a contender for most easygoing baked dessert known to mankind. Ingredient ratios can be readily juggled and a whole array of wacky ingredients can be included. Like, say, sweet potatoes!
If you've had pumpkin bread pudding this flavor profile isn't much of a stretch - both have a similar deep, earthy sweetness. But as much as I practically require a fainting couch when presented with pumpkiny foods (so dizzying is my love), I am prone to forsaking pumpkin when I can use sweet potatoes. Variety is the spice of life, as they say, and a valuable strategy in eating a well-rounded diet.
And then there's this: One cup of cooked sweet potatoes offers 1,922 micrograms Retinol Activity Equivalents (mcg RAE) of beta carotene, which is twice as much as carrots and 16 times more than broccoli. And they have exuberant levels of vitamin E, Vitamin B6, potassium and iron. So why wouldn't you want them in your dessert? You do. So without further ado...
Sweet Potato Bread Pudding
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup cooked sweet potato, mashed
- 1/2 cup sugar (or more wholesome Sucanat)
- 2 large eggs and 1 yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons bourbon or dark rum (optional)
- 5 cups cubed day-old brioche (or other bread)
- 3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
2. In a large bowl, stir together milk, sweet potato, sugar, eggs, yolk, salt, spices and bourbon/rum.
3. In another bowl, toss bread with butter, then fold in sweet potato mix and gently stir to coat. Transfer to an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish and bake until custard is set, around 25 to 30 minutes. Alternately, use a springform pan, the dessert can then be unmolded for a more cake-like presentation that is a bit more elegant.
4. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream (or clotted cream or mascarpone) sprinkled with extra cinnamon.