Caramelized Pear Bread Pudding

Caramelized Pear Bread Pudding

17 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine October/November 2006

Sweet caramelized pears are the highlight of this comforting, custardy, raisin-studded bread pudding. When turned out of its baking dish, the flanlike pudding sits in a pool of intense caramel syrup, making it worthy of any holiday table. Serve warm or chilled.

Ingredients 8 servings

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  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 cups cubed, day-old country-style bread, crusts trimmed (4-6 slices), preferably whole-wheat
  • 2 tablespoons raisins, or currants
  • 1 teaspoon butter, softened, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 2 ripe pears, peeled, halved and cored
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


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  1. Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring, until steaming, 4 to 6 minutes. Whisk eggs in a large bowl until blended; gradually whisk in 1/4 cup sugar. Slowly whisk in the hot milk until blended. Whisk in vanilla, lemon zest and nutmeg.
  2. Add bread and raisins (or currants) to the milk mixture; gently fold together. Press down lightly with the back of a large spoon. Cover and set aside at room temperature.
  3. Butter the bottom and sides of a round 2-quart baking dish with 1 teaspoon butter. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Put a kettle of water on to boil.
  4. Cut each pear half lengthwise into 4 slices. Place in a medium bowl and toss with lemon juice.
  5. Heat a medium skillet over low heat until hot. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and swirl until just melted and the foam subsides. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup sugar over the melted butter. Arrange the pear slices on their sides in the pan in an even layer. Increase the heat to medium-low and, without stirring, let the pears begin to brown and the sauce slowly caramelize, adjusting the heat as needed to prevent burning, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully turn each pear slice with a fork. Return to the heat and cook until the sauce is uniformly golden, 2 to 4 minutes more.
  6. Carefully transfer the pears one at a time to the prepared baking dish, arranging them decoratively in a circle and slightly overlapping them if necessary. Use a heatproof silicone spatula to scrape any remaining syrup over the pears.
  7. Set the baking dish in a shallow baking pan. Spoon the bread and custard mixture into the baking dish. Press down on the bread until it is submerged in the custard. Place the pan in the oven and carefully add the hot water to the shallow baking pan until it is halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
  8. Bake until the pudding is browned on top and set in the center, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Carefully remove the pan from the oven. Transfer the baking dish to a wire rack and let cool for at least 45 minutes. To serve, run a knife around the edge of the pudding. Place a serving platter over it and invert the pudding onto the platter.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

Nutrition information

  • Per serving: 215 calories; 7 g fat(3 g sat); 2 g fiber; 31 g carbohydrates; 8 g protein; 22 mcg folate; 106 mg cholesterol; 23 g sugars; 389 IU vitamin A; 2 mg vitamin C; 139 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 134 mg sodium; 206 mg potassium
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 2
  • Exchanges: 2 other carbohydrates, 1 fat

Reviews 17

November 03, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
Delicious I used almond milk, raisin bread and added walnuts. Pros: easy
January 04, 2014
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By: Sandy Hafenbrack
Love it! I read the other reviews about how this is the best bread pudding ever and how they died and went to Heaven. They were right! It's a wonderful, not too sweet custard and the caramelized pears are delicious. I will say however that people who think a dessert has to be covered in fudge and whipped cream may be disappointed. This is a much more sophisticated dessert. :) Pros: Delicious and easy Cons: Not your typical dessert.
August 10, 2013
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By: kirsty.r.l
Simple, Classic and No Need to Shop I decided I wanted to bake an afternoon treat when visiting my parents but didn't want to have to go to the shop. This was perfect with simple, common ingredients and a virtually fool proof recipe. I substituted pears for apples and put in cinnamon to compliment the fruit and put in 40g of sultanas as I really love them. I followed the recipe otherwise exactly as written it was perfectly baked at 1 hour on the dot. My husband who doesn't like saltanas liked it too but we both agreed that additional vanilla and using raisin toast as others have suggested would have made it even better. It definitely would have been bland without the cinnamon we put in and another half or full apple would be required to cover the top in full! Love it, will definitely make it again! Pros: Easy to prepare, Uses common household ingredients Cons: Lacks flavour if additional spices aren't added
March 16, 2012
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By: GoodFun-GlutenFree
Best bread pudding I've had This was delicious. However - my caramel did not set (like other reviewers) despite using brown sugar instead of regular and giving extra time. I also did add some spiced rum to the caramel, so that may have contributed to it not setting up. Despite all of this, the bread pudding dish was absolutely delicious. I used a Weight Watchers recipe last year and it was an epic failure - too much liquid, not enough bread, and it just didn't set. I doubled the lemon zest and the nutmeg, added some cinnamon, and the rum was spot on. Definitely recommended...with a few tweaks ;)
November 03, 2011
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By: EatingWell User
I've died and gone to bread pudding heaven! Delicious! I made this tonight and I don't want to stop eating it! I live in Mazatlan, so I love anything flan-like and this fit the bill. I used a crusty Mexican bread instead of whole wheat, added a handful of raisins, and since we love nutmeg, used 1/4 teaspoon instead of 1/8th and added an extra tablespoon each of butter and sugar to carmelize with the pears. This was incredible! I look forward to trying it with apples and using cinnamon instead of nutmeg. Or maybe pineapple and brown sugar and make an upside down pineapple bread pudding. YUM! But, I'll always go back to the pear version. Excellent. Pros: easy to make, impressive, delicious! Cons: It takes a while to prepare, though it's easy.
December 25, 2010
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By: eletha
Not bad for a first try I made this for Christmas Eve dinner and it turned out pretty well. After reading some of the previous reviews, I did adjust the recipe slightly. I used cinnamon raisin bread and doubled both the lemon zest and the vanilla. My family seemed to really enjoy it.
November 04, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
This was excellent. I made it with whole wheat bread raisin bread. I didn't have enough pears so I mixed added some apples. I also added a little apple brandy to the pudding before baking which gave it a nice touch. I also doubled the caramel topping. I served it warm to my dinner guests, and they raved about it.
October 28, 2010
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By: brocker1413
The bread pudding was good fresh out of the oven but became more delicious after sitting in the fridge for two days. Instead of raisins I added dried cranberries. The caramel topping didnt turn out great so after flipping the bread pudding onto a plate I transferred it to a baking sheet and placed it under the broiler to complete the caramel process for a few minutes. Watch it carefully though, it can get too done quickly. I will be preparing this two days before Thanksgiving and taking it to the family dinner ; )
October 04, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
The bread pudding itself is bland. The pear, syrup, and raisins add some good flavors. If I were to try this recipe again, I would add more raisins and at least one more pear. I would also use a wider pan, so that the bread pudding is thinner overall and I can get a piece of the caramelized pear with every bite.