If you are an early bird and like to start your morning in the kitchen, this is a pretty good way to make the rest of your day memorable. For the rest of us [including my lazy self], it would be easier to make it at night and leave the whole thing to chill overnight before pulling out this beautiful pudding baked to golden perfection onto your breakfast table. Taken word for word from Deb’s hilarious food blog, the Smitten Kitchen, this caramel-topped bread pudding will make your family love you more for the extra effort you put in to make breakfast deliciously different today.



3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt or 2 to 3 pinches coarse sea salt

10 to 12-ounce loaf brioche or challah bread

8 large eggs, room temperature

1/4 cup mascarpone cheese or crème fraîche 

1 cup full cream milk or evaporated milk

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds


  • Cut the bread into slices about 1/2-inch thick and about 3 inches square/round. Choose a baking vessel.
  • Use a 2-quart gratin/roasting dish or a 10-inch round cake pan/cast iron skillet or 1″ deep-dish pie pan.

  • Place 3/4 cup sugar, butter and sea salt in a saucepan. Heat it over medium heat until the butter melts.
  • After 7 to 10 minutes, the sugar will dissolve and begin to brown. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir.

  • Use wooden spoon or spatula so that it browns evenly. The butter may separate from the melting sugar.
  • Do your best to keep them stirred together but know that it will all work out in the end even if it is split.

  • The caramel is done when it reaches a copper color. Pour it over base of baking dish with 1″ up the sides.
  • Place the dish in the refrigerator and chill until the caramel turns cold and solid, for about 30 minutes.

  • Arrange the bread slices. Place heel of bread in the center and fan the slices around, overlapping slightly.
  • In a large bowl whisk together eggs, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 mascarpone cheese until very smooth.

  • Add milk and almond extract. Pour it over the bread, making sure to saturate it. Cover with plastic wrap.
  • Chill overnight. If you bread seems too high in the dish to get a good soak, weight it with down a plate.

  • In the morning, take your dish from the fridge an hour before you want to bake it. Heat oven to 375°F.
  • Remove the plastic and bake 30 to 35 minutes, until moist but not wet in center. Remove it from oven.

  • Run a knife around edge of dish, loosening bread from sides. Place a serving plate over top of the dish.
  • Using potholders, hold pudding over sink and flip pudding onto serving plate. Lift baking dish off plate.

  • Scrape any extra caramel from baking dish. Sprinkle almonds on top, cut and serve with mascarpone.
  • Serves 6 to 8. Estimate 1 hour prep time and then about 30 or so minutes baking time in the morning.

Morning {Breakfast} Pudding