Lemon-Thyme Rhubarb Bread Pudding

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Tart, sweet, rich, and custardy. These four words only begin to describe this delicious bread pudding recipe, perfectfor the beginning of spring when Rhubarb’s pink stalks are sneaking out from the cold ground. Lemon zest andthyme draw out rhubarb’s herbaceous notes and every bite with the taste of the garden. Since you’re using challahbread for this recipe, the soaking time is significantly shorter than a bread pudding that uses a crusty loaf orbaguette. For a decadent upgrade, serve with barely-sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Lemon-Thyme Rhubarb Bread Pudding Recipe
Photo: Victor Protasio
Hands On Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
Yield:
10 serves

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for serving

  • 1 ¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided

  • 1 ½ pounds fresh rhubarb stalks, trimmed and cut into 1-in. pieces (about 5½ cups)

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 1 loaf challah, cut into 1½-in. cubes (about 16 cups)

  • Cooking spray

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. Rub together lemon zest, thyme, and ½ cup sugar in a small bowl. Toss rhubarb and ¼ cup lemon-thyme sugar in a large bowl. Let stand for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  2. Meanwhile, whisk milk, cream, vanilla, salt, and ¾ cup sugar in a medium saucepan; bring to a low simmer over medium-high and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining ¼ cup lemon-thyme sugar until combined. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks.

  3. Preheat oven to 325°F. Add bread cubes and milk mixture to rhubarb mixture and gently fold together. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, stirring twice. Transfer to a 3-quart baking dish lightly greased with cooking spray. Drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

  4. Bake until puffed and golden, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving, about 10 minutes. Top with thyme leaves and serve with ice cream, if desired.

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