Walking into the grocery the other day, there was a table filled with baked temptations that of course caught my eye. I hadn’t eaten yet and they were all whispering to me seductively. Don’t laugh, but the loudest whisper was the long, paper wrapped rustic baguette. It was whispering “Use me!” I could think of at least 3 different ways to use that loaf, so into my cart it went.
Then back home the poor baguette laid on my counter for 5 days. I ignored it because I didn’t have the ingredients to make it into any of the dishes I had envisioned. I’d been so busy all week I’d forgotten to make a grocery list for my P.S. (Personal Shopper/hubby), even though he reminded me every day. Which was maybe a good thing, as I ran across a recipe today for blueberry bread pudding in jars, and another for blueberry cheesecake french toast that gave me ideas. And ironically both needed a rustic, day-old loaf of bread!
Blueberry cream cheese bread pudding sounded like heaven. I would combine the recipes to have the best of the best. I actually did have all of the ingredients on hand, in spite of still not making a shopping list for my P.S. Bread, blueberries, cream cheese, eggs, milk, it was pretty simple. I set to work the minute I got into the kitchen.
I sprayed the insides of the half pint canning jars I use for fun desserts. I sprayed 12 jars but since I later had ingredients left over I sprayed 4 more jars and filled them. If you only have 12 jars you could layer the rest into a small baking container. Or just make the whole bread pudding in a 9×13 pan.
Next I cut the baguette up with a serrated knife into 1” cubes and put them into a large mixing bowl.
I put the eggs into another mixing bowl and beat them until mixed. I beat in the sugar, milk, vanilla and butter.
I poured the mixture over the bread cubes and mixed them well, making sure they were all covered. I let them sit the 20 minutes.
I beat the cream cheese and sugar together with a hand held mixer until they were smooth.
When the bread had sat for 20 minutes, I carefully filled the 16 jars half full. Then I used a small cookie scoop and scooped a tablespoon of cream cheese mixture into each glass.
Finally I added the rest of the bread mixture to the jars, then turned around and noticed the cup of blueberries, still sitting on the counter. Oh no! That was so annoying! I didn’t want to disturb the layers by dumping them all back into a bowl and adding blueberries, so I took a spoon and put a small pile of berries on top of each jar. Then I took a small fork and pushed them down the sides and middle of the jars.
I made that way more difficult than it needed to be. I was doing great until I forget the blessed blueberries! It was my last frozen bag of berries my P.S. had picked in northern Minnesota two summers ago. They are SO sweet and flavorful, nothing like the store bought berries that are large and never very sweet.
I put the jars onto a baking sheet and slid them into the oven. I baked them for 35 minutes, until the tops were nicely browned. I set the jars on a rack to cool. Some of my jars had spilled over in a minor way, but not much. They were easy to wipe off later before I put the lids on the jars.
The bread pudding was really, really good! It had a nice and creamy center with the cream cheese, and it was slightly sweet. The blueberries were of course amazing; we were very pleased with the flavors. I hadn’t liked bread pudding until I made this blueberry cheesecake version, and I’m sure I’ll be making it again. It might be fun to try other diced fruits like peaches or apples sometime.
Blueberry Cheesecake Bread Pudding
1 pound rustic artisan bread, crusts included (preferably stale)
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
3 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
8 oz cream cheese; room temp
1/3 cup sugar
12 – 8 ounce jars
Heat oven to 350°. Grease sixteen 8-ounce jars.
Cut the bread into 1 inch cubes, place in a large bowl, and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar , milk and vanilla until combined. Stir in the melted butter.
Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes and stir until all the pieces of bread are completely soaked. Allow the bread to sit for 20 minutes.
Beat the cream cheese and 1/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer in a separate bowl.
Stir the blueberries into the bread mixture and immediately spoon into the jars, filling each only half full. Scoop a tablespoon of cream cheese into each jar. Fill the jars with the remaining bread mixture.
Place the jars on a large baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the tops of the puddings are evenly browned.
Remove from the oven and set on a rack to cool.