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Maple Bacon Bread Pudding

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Serves 6

  • by Mark Scarbrough, Bruce Weinstein from Web only

This sweet-savory bread pudding makes a great brunch on a chilly winter morning. Serve sprinkled with additional crisp, crumbled bacon or chopped pecans, if desired. While light amber Grade A maple syrup may be the best for pancakes, dark amber or even the more economical Grade B will offer the most flavor here. Eggs don’t stay well on the keep-warm setting. Over time, they can break, leaving a watery mess in the slow cooker, so it’s better to eat them when they’re ready.

  • Unsalted butter for greasing the crock
  • 1 24-inch baguette cut into 3/4-inch cubes (7 to 8 cups)
  • 8 oz. sliced bacon
  • 8 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 5 cups whole or low-fat milk
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Generously butter the inside of a 6-quart slow cooker crock.

Heat the oven to 350°F. Spread the bread cubes on a large rimmed baking sheet. Toast, turning the cubes twice, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Set aside.

Cook the bacon in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Crumble the bacon into the slow cooker. Add the bread cubes, and toss well.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla until smooth. Pour over the bread cubes and bacon, using the back of a wooden spoon to press the top bread cubes into the liquid to moisten them. Let stand in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, overnight.

Remove from the refrigerator and gently toss with a rubber spatula. Cook on low until set, about 2-1/2 hours. Serve by scooping out large spoonfuls.

Photo: Scott Phillips

I know that I've given this recipe the lowest rating. But now I will add that I would like to make it again! I prepared this recipe with the added confidence of a "test kitchen guarantee". Expecting a delicious breakfast this morning, after the 2 1/2 hour cooking, this pudding was liquid. I have to believe that the instructions meant to have you cook on HIGH slow cooker setting versus LOW, which was in this recipe. I will check this page from time to time to see if there might be some input from the editor. Good Saturday morning! I am adding to my review after the thoughtful response from the editor. Yes, Sarah was thoughtful enough to respond to my review. She explained how extensively recipes are tested, and that with egg dishes, it is the norm for LOW setting to be used for more even cooking. Sarah offered some possibilities of why my first attempt failed...everything from the type of insert in a slow cooker, to it's age, etc. My slow cooker is the "Crockpot" brand, and as I told her...."old as the hills". That being said, I made this again, and in my particular cooker, using the HIGH setting did the trick. It was an enjoyable breakfast this morning. While I won't say that this is the ultimate breakfast bread pudding, I'm VERY pleased that there is follow through at this cooking site, from having concerns addressed by the Fine Cooking editors.

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