Butterscotch Pear Bread Pudding is rich with custard and bread topped with Butterscotch pears and caramel sauce. It’s the perfect dessert to get you through winter.
I received a box of produce to participate in the Melissa’s Produce Family Baking Challenge but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting those brands that support A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures.
I never shy away from a bread pudding. I’ve made a few of them for the blog. Bread puddings are not difficult to make. I really should make them more often because I love them.
What’s not to love about bread pudding?
There’s bread. And there’s a custard pudding that the bread soaks up. Then there’s the spices and sugar and other ingredients you add to the custard. The possibilities are pretty much endless with bread puddings.
It’s the recreation of these leftovers that created bread pudding, Panzanella, stuffing, bread soup, and even using bread as a vessel to hold something else. People couldn’t afford to just throw out leftover ingredients, so they had to make what they could with them. Leftover recipes gave us arancini, chilaquiles, French toast, cacciatore, essentially meatballs and soups, and pretty much any kind of savory tart, frittata, or quiche.
Today, bread pudding is a comfort food that is not only delicious but elevated in some restaurants. Bread pudding maintains its tradition of using leftover bread. But it also uses fresh breads like brioche and croissants. There’s a range of liquids from milk to heavy creams. Sweetener is honey, sugar, brown sugar, or maple syrup.
Bread pudding doesn’t stick to only European and American kitchens. It’s a recipe that spans the globe. Mexico has capirotada, Egypt has Om Ali, Middle East has Eish es Serny, and India has shahi tukda. All of these have the base ingredients of bread, a sweetener or some description, some form of liquid to cook the bread in (milk, syrups, etc.), and additional ingredients like cheeses and spices for flavoring.
This dish travelled with across the pond during colonial times. It only makes sense that they would bring what they knew with them when they made the huge move to a new land. While you can find it across the United States, I think it’s most popular in the south. And has taken hold of New Orleans where I think it’s a state law that bread pudding is on every restaurant menu. KIDDING!
Of course, this post isn’t just about the bread pudding. It’s also about the Butterscotch Pears. So noted for their butterscotch style flavor. Being a pear lover, I had to taste these gems before popping them into the bread pudding.
What do Butterscotch Pears taste like?
Butterscotch pears are sweet. Mine didn’t quite have that butterscotch flavor, but they were definitely juicy. Which is one of the main differences between US pears and Asian pears. No, I’m not saying that US pears aren’t juicy. They are. But Asian pears take juicy to a whole new level.
Initially, I thought the butterscotch was from their color. I mean, they are a most gorgeous shade of butterscotch. But the flavor can range from a caramel hard candy to even a crème brulee type of sweetness and flavor, or so I’ve read.
These pears are handle with care when they’re grown. Their skins are rather thin which makes their skin less bitter than other varieties. When they’re growing, they’re wrapped with paper to keep the skin from getting damaged. And it’s this thin skin and specially handling that makes them super juicy. I mean, beyond any apple or pear I’ve had before.
These particular pears hail from South Korea. They’re kin to like a chojuro or shinko. Both are butterscotch in color and have sweet butterscotch notes to their flavor. And along the lines of a hosui with it’s abundant juice. Which is one of the suggested ways to enjoy these pears; put them in a smoothie.
They are the largest pears I’ve ever seen. Larger than some apples I’ve seen! We all wondered why the dumpling recipe had you cut them in half and now we all know why. If you used a whole pear, that would be the whole meal. A half a pear is PLENTY for one person. These butterscotch pears are that big.
They’re also super crispy!
You can bake them, as you can see, and they will hold their shape. My favorite way to use these is in a tart or simply slice them up and toss them with a salad. They would make a super crunchy additional to delicious fall salad with pears, pecans, and some dried cranberries. A simple vinaigrette on the slightly sweet side would make for a delicious meal.
Of course, they’re perfect for snacking on! Simple sliced or paired with a nice Blue cheese or a creamy goat cheese. They’re large enough to slice and eat with toppings like a cracker. Put a piece of cheese to cover the whole and you’re good to go! I’m thinking pear, a slice of Manchego and maybe some Ibirico ham on top. YUM!
But these pears on the butterscotch pear bread pudding are not crispy. They’re cooked with butter and brown sugar for a delicious caramel sauce that tops the pudding. Then the whole thing is baked in the oven until brown and puffy. Of course it doesn’t stay puffy, but it is still light and fluffy.
You can see the individual pieces of bread. I do not appreciate those bread puddings where you cannot taste the bread pieces. It it’s just all one big lump of bread on your plate. No thanks. I want to make sure I can taste the texture and flavor of the bread in the pudding. If that makes sense.
It’s still pear season! These pears are in season from October through March. You can run out to the store and pick some up to make this delicious butterscotch pear bread pudding for New Year’s dinner. If you can’t find the butterscotch pears, you can order them from Melissa’s Produce. You will get six of these gems in your shipment. Plenty for this bread pudding, salads, and even snacking. While you’re there you can read about their Butterscotch pears.
Your friends and family will love you for bringing this to the table. It’s a deliciously easy bread pudding that is rich and full of flavor. The pear and caramel topping makes this pudding irresistible. My mouth wanted a second serving and would have easily dished up another slice if I wasn’t already full from dinner. I did seriously contemplate it, though.
- 4 tablespoons Butter
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar divided
- 3 each large Butterscotch Pears
- 6 cups stale brioche bread cut into cubes
- 2 cups half & half
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 each eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray an 8X8 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ½ cup sugar and stir until combined. Add pear slices in an even layer. Cook, without stirring for 8 minutes until the fruit begins to caramelize. Flip slices and cook for 5-8 minutes longer until both the fruit and the caramel are golden brown
- Meanwhile, prepare the custard by whisking together remaining ¼ cup sugar, half and half, milk, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.
- Spread the bread cubes into the prepared pan. Pour custard mixture over the bread.
- Press down to make sure all cubes are soaked.
- Layer pear slices evenly over the top of the bread mixture. Top with remaining caramel from the skillet.
- Bake for 55-65 minutes until fully set. Serve dusted with powdered sugar.
View recipe here.
Nutrition InformationYield 16 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 419Total Fat 21gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 180mgSodium 391mgCarbohydrates 47gFiber 2gSugar 18gProtein 10g