French Breakfast Puddings

french breakfast puddings
These little French Breakfast Puddings are deeelicious and an excellent back-pocket sort of last minute whip-it-together thing.  And versatile, and flexible, and terrific for a brunch or a breakfast, even a snack or breakfast for dinner.  Hey, I don't judge. 

Surely I've mentioned how breakfast is a big deal in our household.  Ope, yup, I sure have.

Any ol' one of Mike's days off, you'll find us in the kitchen whipping together a swanky breakfast.  Mike is our resident Breakfast Maker, I am the batter queen.  Waffles and now pancakes again are my forte while everything else is Mike's job.

I've probably mentioned I'm not sure how breakfast came to be the big deal that it is here, but I can't say I'm sad about it as breakfast is the best and eatin' it with my sweetheart makes it even better.

One breakfast item that is always my purview is a French toast casserole type of deal-io.  These are typically reserved for holidays or fancier days like birthdays or sometimes on occasion, just 'cuz.

While I have oddly yet to share one of these recipes with you, today I do have a version thereof, these French Breakfast Puddings.

french breakfast puddings
They're not puddings per se, as Americans might think of as pudding, but rather like a French toast casserole divided up and baked in a muffin tin.*

Handy thing about the muffin tin is that it's portioned; just bake, divvy up or set out, and tada breakfast! 

Handy thing too is this is a great way to use up leftover bread you've got laying around or, bonus, and unlike many French toast casserole recipes, you can use fresh bread too.

FYI on the bread...yes, you can definitely use fresh bread here but note that it will break up more than a day old or toasted or dried out bread.  I prefer the latter as the cubes hold their shape and absorb better.

Another bread FYI:  go for sturdier breads rather than a store-bought white sandwich or a challah.  In my opinion, sturdier, again, holds its shape better while softer breads tend to break apart and melt away.

Hot tip:  if you preheat the oven before you begin mixing, you can dry out the bread/bread cubes in there as the oven warms.  Be sure to keep an eye on it though!

Another huge bonus about these French Breakfast Puddings, as I mentioned at the very top, is that this recipe is super versatile and flexible.  You can vary the bread types, such as this time around I used a combo of Aldi's Apple Strudel Bread and a few slices of a sturdy take-and-bake.

You can also vary the dairy here, using milk or cream or half and half.  I bet you could use a dairy alternative.  The original recipe says you can also use a can of evaporated milk even.

Other variations, vary the spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, ya know, whatever tickles your fancy.  You could probably even give these a more savory bent; lower the sugars and add zip with cayenne or black pepper or whatever.

And yet more variations....I know, right?!, are the optional toppings listed below.  Dress 'em up, dress 'em down, fruits, berries, nuts, meats, whatever or even just plain, you're not gonna go wrong here. 

Oh, you could even mix and match:  some get berries, some get nuts, some are plain...way to make everyone happy! 

Biggest bonus of all here folks, it's totally a whisk, dump, and bake.  You can literally be still asleep and make this recipe.

All right, I think you're seeing the copious amounts of pluses here, time to make the French Breakfast Puddings.

Get yourself set up with a large bowl and dump everything in except the bread cubes and toppings. 

ingredient prep
Whisk* that stuff around, bingo, done.

whisked ingredients in large bowl
Dump in your bread cubes, stir those around to coat well then just leave the bowl on the counter for the cubes to soak up your custardy goodness.

soaking bread cubes
Meanwhile, preheat your oven and grease up your pan.  If you'd like, you can use paper liners* but be sure to give those a spray with cooking spray as these suckers stick.

All right, everything prepped and ready to go, divide up the soaked cubes between the wells of the pan, adding in the extra custard liquid too.

adding bread cubes and custard to muffin pan
Top with your toppings of choice and give that a nice bake for a half hour.  When the tops look nicely browned and they're quite puffy, they're done and it is time to eat!

freshly baked French Breakfast Puddings
These are great for a make-ahead too -- bake 'em up and stash 'em in the fridge to reheat or pop 'em in the freezer, take them out and reheat as you go.

French Breakfast Puddings cooling on rack
And voila, French Breakfast Puddings! 

French Breakfast Puddings
You're welcome to serve them with maple syrup, a sauce, or powdered sugar, however you see fit.

Happy breakfasting!

*The muffin tins, whisks, and paper liners are Amazon affiliate links.  Happy baking, thanks!  Please see the "info" tab for more, well, info.

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