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If you bake a lot of bread (attention, bread machine owners), you're sure to have some that's starting to go stale (or has already gotten there). Bread pudding is a great use for leftover bread; this version brings a whiff of the tropics to the table.
5 large eggs
1 quart milk, skim, 1%, 2% or whole
3/4 cup dried pineapple, finely diced
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, plus 1/4 cup for topping
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons rum (optional but very good)
3/4 to 1 cup sugar (use the larger amount if you like a sweeter pudding)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 loaf white bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes, about 6 to 8 cups
Butter a shallow 2-quart casserole dish. Preheat your oven to 300°F.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the milk, pineapple, 1/2 cup coconut, vanilla, rum, sugar and salt. Mix in the bread cubes. Spoon the mixture into the buttered casserole dish, and top with the remaining 1/4 cup coconut.
Bake the bread pudding for 1 hour. The middle will feel set but still soft. Serve warm or chilled, with whipped cream or ice cream. Yield: 12 generous servings.