Doughnut Bread Pudding: How love evolves

doughnut-bread-pudding

One of the things I love most about writing for this blog is the stories we get to share with our friends, fans, and fellow bakers. It’s great to connect with folks who share a love of the same things that make you glad to get up and come to work every day. Baking, cooking, and food are a big part of my life, and sharing that with others each day makes for a satisfying and rewarding day at the office. But what about at home?

From reading other posts, you may know that my husband David and I share a love of cooking together, but the story really goes much deeper than that. You see, David and I have known each other for 41 years now (and I just turned 41!). I like to say we first met in a cradle.

In fact, our mothers were friends when they were teens, and remain friends to this day. David’s parents were married first, and when my parents were wed, my mother borrowed her wedding dress from David’s mother, Barbara. When the children started arriving, David’s sister Kim was the oldest, followed by my brother Andy, then David, followed by my brother Mark, and then me.

As we grew up, our families remained in touch, though we lived in different states. A few times a year we would travel to their house in rural New Hampshire, a world away from our small city apartment in Massachusetts. There would be romping in the woods, sledding, sugaring , cidering, and lots of food. I remember big spaghetti dinners, build-your-own-sandwich lunches, David’s father’s chili (“it’ll burn the lint out of your navel”) and my mother’s cherry cheesecake.

As teens, we added various friends—boyfriends and girlfriends—to the mix. Relationships came and went, but our gatherings continued to feature food as a major player. Like going out for Chinese food on New Year’s Eve. And sneaking out of Kim’s wedding reception to go to Athens Pizza in our finery. (Hey, the hors d’oeuvres were tiny, and we were  staving! Sorry Kim!)

At long last, the year I graduated from college, David and I realized our friendship was developing into something more. Even our courtship was marked with special food occasions. The brunch at the the Columbia River Gorge; the truly laughable dinner at Benihana where I mistook the tea cup for a finger bowl, and so many more.

As we spent more time together as a couple, we learned we each loved to cook; and we often cooked together on weekends.  I don’t remember exactly when David suggested  bread pudding for dessert, but I remember thinking it sounded just awful. I was picturing pieces of bread mixed in with Jell-O pudding, and wanted no part of it. David’s mom whipped one up anyway, and I was cajoled into trying it. Needless to say, another love blossomed that day; and I’ve been a fan of bread pudding ever since.

As love evolves, so do recipes. Our bread pudding used to be made with store-bought white bread, then we made it with homemade bread. One day a couple of years ago I heard of a recipe using doughnuts instead of bread, and just had to give it a try. Need I say I fell in love all over again? So join me, and we’ll make Doughnut Bread Pudding.

First, you’ll need some doughnuts. After an unfortunate run-in with my bathroom scale, I chose baked doughnuts for my first batch. You can certainly use fried, or even doughnut holes. More on that later.

I started with our King Arthur apple cinnamon doughnut mix.

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Preheat your oven and spray your doughnut pans well. One mix makes 24 mini doughnuts.

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Notice the lovely chunks of apple in the mix. Those will add extra flavor and texture.

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It’s tough to spoon batter into doughnut-shaped wells. A pastry bag makes quick work of it. Use a tall, heavy glass to hold your bag open for you.

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Snip off the end of the bag enough so the apple pieces will pass through. Gently squeeze and fill up the wells.

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See? All full and no mess.  Bake the doughnuts for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool on a rack.

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In an effort to be fair to our fried food fans, here’s a quick rundown on making fried doughnut holes. For a really thorough explanation, see PJ’s Doughnut Holes blog. Here’s the cinnamon batter.

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Remember not to overcrowd your fryer. You want a nice steady temperature for even frying. Drain the fried doughnuts well on a rack.

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When you place the doughnut holes in the pan, you should have one complete layer on the bottom, and some extras tucked down in the gaps. It’s fine to break them up a bit, just not too much or the pudding texture will be mushy. Keep most of the lovely fried bits whole.

Back to our baked doughnuts.

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Butter or spray your baking dish, and layer the doughnuts in. Again, you’re looking for a full bottom layer and some extra pieces on top.

It’s best to keep the baked doughnuts whole. They’ll get grainy in the pudding if broken up. Whisk together the custard ingredients and pour evenly over the doughnuts.

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It’s a subtle difference, but you can see in this photo that the doughnuts have absorbed some of the custard in just a minute or two. You can gently press the doughnuts down to help this along. Now, into the hot oven.

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To check for doneness, take a look at the custard. This still looks a little milky, and isn’t set. Back to the hot box.

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Success! The custard is set, the doughnuts are GBD (golden brown and delicious). Now the hard part, waiting 15 minutes for it to cool before serving!

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The results are worth the wait. Enjoy your delicious treat with whipped cream, ice cream, or even a drizzle of caramel sauce for the truly decadent.

Thanks for letting me share my love story with you. I’ll keep you posted as we evolve for another 41 years!

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Doughnut Bread Pudding.

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. Terri

    what a fun story! Thanks for sharing that. I’ve been eyeing that doughnut pan for years and now might have to get it. Does it come with recipes? I love bread pudding, so this might send me over the edge.

    Terri – We do have a recipe on our website. Take a look. Baked Doughnuts Elisabeth @ KAF

    Reply
  2. Heidi

    Oh man!! I wish you had posted this recipe earlier. A few weeks ago I had made some donuts for a wine tasting party my husband and I went to. I had a some left over and ended up throwing them out. I could have made some bread pudding. Next time!! Thanks for sharing!!
    Hi Heidi,
    When I first started making doughnut bread pudding, David wondered how anyone could ever have left over doughnuts! Do try it next time, it’s great. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  3. Mrs. Hittle

    That’s such a sweet story! Congratulations on your first 41 years. :-)

    i’m not a doughnut maker (i think i might have seen my mom make them once, yea many moons ago), but that dough doesn’t look what i expected. It looks more like batter. Obviously it works well for baked doughnuts and fried doughnut holes, but how do you shape it for fried doughnuts?
    Hi Mrs. Hittle,
    Thanks! We’re doing fine so far!

    The dough from the mix is meant to be baked, and the doughnut holes are meant to be scooped. The dough for rolled, cut and fried doughnuts is a different texture, closer to a soft bread dough. Check out this recipe for Raised Doughnuts ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  4. Gail

    What a wonderful story! Doughnut Bread Pudding, though. . . thirty-plus years ago, I had recently moved from NJ to NH to attend college (at Keene State). . . equally importantly, this marked an important change in my baking career. I had been baking since the age of eleven, and was now giving up my old friend, Hecker’s Flour, for King Arthur- something I’ve been grateful for ever since. I was famous for my 3:00AM pancake breakfasts- the munchies y’know- but the group of climbers and skiers in my house went through a lot more food than I could keep up with. Back then, Dunkin’ Donuts’s slogan was “We make our donuts fresh every four hours.” I shudder to think about how much food was thrown out in those days, but to us, it meant that every four hours, someone bagged up all the donuts in the rack, put them in a flour sack, and placed them gently in the large green container in the back. . . where someone was often waiting. I shudder equally about how many donuts we all ate! Even so, there were always stale donuts around; hence, there was often donut bread pudding on Sunday mornings. With homemade yogurt, of course.
    Hi Gail,
    So, you not only made doughnut bread pudding back in the day, but you probably ate your share of Athen Pizza too! Thanks for the reminder to make the best with what we have, and not waste when others are in need. ~MaryJane

    Reply
  5. cindy leigh

    awwww….. what a great story! Post another chapter!

    I made a doughnut bread pudding a few years ago when I read the recipe in a murder mystery novel. It called for Krispy Kreme, and was served with a burbon sauce, I think. Anyway, it was incredibly delicious but I never made it again due to the whopping calories.

    I remember my grandmother making crullers- a cake style,m not yeast style, twisted and fried. They were great. (but not low cal, either!)

    I cold give baked doughnuts a whirl, if I had that pan, and a lower cal recipe with maybe some white whole wheat and high-maize.

    Hi Cindy Leigh,
    I’ll keep ya’ll posted! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  6. Sandy

    I made a bread pudding out of Krispy Kreme doughnuts about 5 years ago. The recipe was from Paula Deen. Well….let me tell you…it was lethally sweet. I could not eat it, even though my guests liked it. Though I love Krispy Kreme doughnuts, a doughnut pudding made with them is just way too sweet. How is your recipe in regards to sweetness?

    Hi Sandy,
    I have only had Krispy Kremes once, at Disney World. They were great but yes, very sweet. This recipe is not nearly as sweet as Paula’s (I’m pretty sure she uses condensed milk for a liquid). This is much closer to traditional bread pudding in sweetness. You can adjust the sugar to 1/3 cup and still get excellent results. Enjoy! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  7. Jamie AZ

    We LOVE the baked donuts! I have the regular sized pan and use a small “ice cream/cookie dough” scoop to put two scoops of batter in each donut well and that seems to work for me. A piping bag is a great idea, too. We love the buttermilk-cinnamon donut recipe (can’t recall it’s official name right now). I’ve also used the same recipe, but substituted vanilla for the spices to make vanilla donuts then glazed them with chocolate glaze (1 cup powdered sugar + 2 tablespoons warm water + 1/2 cup melted chocolate chips, more water to make as thin as you like). Never made bread pudding… maybe we’ll have to now!
    Hi Jamie,
    Our regular buttermilk doughnut mix would work just great in this recipe as well. I hope you give it a try. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  8. Kelly

    I love that the doughnuts are baked. With all my food blogging I find the scale creeping up slowly. Not good. Not good at all. The first time I had doughnut bread pudding a friend used Krispy Kreme doughnuts. The bread pudding was so sweet my teeth hurt! It was tasty, but really painful! This looks great!

    Hi Kelly,
    I have heard that the Krispy Kreme recipe is very sweet. This recipe is much more like a traditional bread pudding, but with the great doughnut flavor as well. ~MaryJane

    p.s. I have been a good girl this week, and the scale is much nicer!

    Reply
  9. Hadley Allen

    Every week I volunteer to cook lunch for those in need. All are welcome: if you just want to eat a nice hot lunch with others, if you are hungry, if you need to have a free meal to stretch your budget, if you are homeless – all are welcome.

    We have a small budget and depend on donations. Every week we get a large donation of day old bread from one of the local markets here in New York City. For the most part, we get various kinds of white flour breads. Occasionally we get a few chocolate croissants, cinnamon bread, bread with raisins and such. The best weeks are when we receive various types of sweetened bread and their doughnuts. We ripped them up and used them first, and add other bread as needed. Our batter is made with 6 dozen eggs, a gallon of milk, 2 gallon cans of peaches and the syrup, and whatever else we can find to add to the mixture. We feed 150 people a hot home made soup, fresh salad, a warm pasta of some kind, sandwiches, and warm bread pudding. We always get rave reviews on the days when we have sweetened breads to use!

    I am selfish. I get so much from my volunteer work. If feels good to prepare a hot meal, made with love, for those in need, and feels good to use food that would go to waste. I hardly had to read the recipe to know that bread pudding made with doughnuts would be excellent!

    Thank you for your recipe!
    Thank YOU for sharing this heartwarming story, and reminder to give of ourselves to others. My hat is off to you! ~MaryJane

    Reply
  10. AJ

    Oh, wow, did this bring back memories! I had a boss who’d
    owned a restuarant in a small town around here. Her specialty
    was cinnamon rolls. If there were every any left over (as if!)
    she would make bread pudding. If there was a lot of sweet stuff she’d cut down the amount of sugar. She brought both
    cinnamon rolls AND pudding to work for a sweet reward for
    work well done. After that we all made bread puddings with
    any leftover baked bread or sweet rolls!
    Thanks AJ, just when my scale is showing me better numbers, you suggest cinnamon roll bread pudding!!! It actually sounds wonderful and I’m sure it will be on the menu at our house soon! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  11. Collette

    What a sweet story! And I’m not talking about the doughnuts! ;-) Thank you for sharing.
    Thanks Collette. It came as a bit of a surprise to David, but he’s happy that folks are enjoying the story. ~MaryJane

    Reply
  12. Oolong

    I made a recipe for molasses doughnuts from the “King Arthur Flour Baking with Whole Grains” cookbook and everyone one of them fell apart while deep frying. I do not know what I did wrong; do you have any suggestions? If they sort of disintergrated in layers, it is possible that you kneaded in too much flour. Not having the oil hot enough might be another possibility. Give us a call at 802-649-3717 which is our Baker’s Hotline. We’d be glad to discuss this further with you. Mary @ KAF

    Reply
  13. Alyce

    Any way to make baked doughnuts holes? I have my free sample of doughnut mix, but no pan :(
    Thanks for the great blog!Sure, you can make baked donut holes. Just drop them out on a parchment lined baking sheet. I would use the temperature called for in the mix, and check them about 5 minutes sooner than the recipe says.Mary@ KAF

    Reply
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  15. Jennifer

    I love the doughnut pan. I’m thinking about getting a 2nd one but I don’t use it often enough to justify it yet. now if I get the mini pan that just might work. The kids love helping me decorate the doughnuts. and I love the idea of a piping bag. This would have been perfect for the Dessert Revel last weekend.

    Jennifer OH Jennifer, I must know more about this Dessert Revel of which you speak! Please email me if you care to share. maryjane.robbins@kingarthurflour.com ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  16. Nel

    That’s a lovely story, but I’ve read to the bottom of the comments and I’m still wiping my eyes over the bit about using a teacup for a fingerbowl at the Benihana. I don’t know why, but that image is just hysterical! You’re a charming story-teller.

    Hi Nel,
    Yes, it was quite a dinner. David launched his spoon onto a neighboring table, the chef served me raw meat as a joke, it went on and on. Once in a while if we are out for Chinese food, he will say “pass me your fingerbowl, and I’ll pour you some tea”. Glad you got a good giggle! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  17. Maxine Monroe

    I would like to by your donut baking pans, but would like to make my own cake donuts. Do you have a recipe for baked cake donuts?

    Right here, Maxine – Baked Doughnuts. Have fun! PJH

    Reply
  18. Organic Eating Daily

    Oh my goodness that looks completely amazing I want to eat my computer screen! I love bread pudding, especially when it gets a bit crispy around the top exposed edges!
    Those crispy bits are David’s favorite. I like the tender, almost soggy parts. Again, we make a good pair! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  19. Marsha Phillips

    I have 2 of your regular-sized doughnut pans. I have tried the baked doughnut reicpe three or four times and they always come out dry and tough. I have checked my oven temperature and it seems to be correct. I used KAF all-purpose flour. What else can I try to make the doughnuts come out a little less tough and dry?

    I suggest trying pastry flour. It is softer and will give a much more tender baked doughnut. If the doughnuts remain dry after this adjustment, you might try increasing the oil by 1-2 teaspoons. Frank from KAF.

    Reply
  20. Kim

    I made donuts for a living one brief season at apple orchard I worked in and all it was mix and water. We measured the mix out by weight for it was in 25lb bags. But it looked like your pictures when mixed and they were fried! We had this neat machine that dropped them in the oil and flipped them when it was time. Anyway those who think the batter looks to runny fry it don’t look to me. You could always add less liquid if you think so.
    Also my mother use to have this cone shape cup like with plunger that shot out the donut mix kind of like the big professional one we used at the bakery/store at the orchard. Not sure if you carry them or if they are still made and sold anywhere.

    Reply
  21. Lee

    Can you bake a yeast raised doughnut or does it have to be a baking powder base? Could you cut them with a English muffin cutter and fill them? Hmmmm…..

    Yeast raised doughnuts work for bread pudding as well. Experiment, have fun. Frank from KAF.

    Reply
  22. Elaine

    Yet again you make my mouth water. I need a few more hours in my day to do all of the baking projects lining up…

    As one of the crazy college friends who has watched both of your Love stories evolve firsthand, I am amazed any of our scales are talking to us. PS had Athens pizza last week!! Hmmm road trip anyone?

    Reply
  23. cbrownsf

    I KNEW I wasn’t crazy. my very, very first experience with bread pudding was one made in a chinese bakery in san francisco, from day-old glazed yeast donuts. it was solid… but solid comfort. since then, it’s seemed like an impossible dream of a sugary high. maybe not!

    Reply

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