Using leftover cranberry orange sweet rolls, this bread pudding is a festive make ahead dinner party recipe! Cranberry Orange Bread Pudding is sweet, tart, and has the perfect ratio of bread to pudding. Top with ice cream for a delicious holiday dessert.
I am a planner. So much so that I have an Excel document I use to keep track the menu ideas and actually put them on the calendar. Granted, they don’t all stay in those little boxes. When it comes time to make the grocery list I usually change things up a bit.
You can’t have two chicken meals next to each other. Also, you can’t have Italian style dishes twice in the same week. Things like that are in consideration when I make the grocery list and finalize the menu for the week. That’s when recipe ideas get shifted around based on what’s in the freezer, pantry, and what I want to eat that week.
For me, that’s the only way I can keep from eating too much convenience food or ordering in more often. Granted, there are some weeks where I’m just not on top of things. I will forget to take the meat out of the freezer for dinner and we have already eaten the backup plan.
That’s when I go online and order food. No. I don’t call the restaurant. If I can’t order online, I’m probably not going to eat there. I’m not a huge fan of calling the restaurant. They typically can’t understand what I’m talking about anyway. At least when I order online, I know the restaurant knows exactly what I want.
We were out on a Saturday one week and the hubs says to me, “We’re already here. Let’s just get the grocery shopping done today.” “Um…I don’t have a list.” “That’s okay! We can just wing it!” Yeah. That’s not me. I cannot…I repeat CAN.NOT grocery shop without a list. Hand to God it just never works out. There’s always something important I will forget. Like the protein. Or the coffee. I’m a planner.
I’m also a serious planner when it comes to the holidays, too. To the point that I have a timeline, on a spreadsheet, that tells me when to start cooking something. If I don’t do that, dinner is not finished on time and things get cold. I know I’m not alone in this. Please, tell me I’m not alone in this?
Likewise if there’s a party to attend. Since I only go to the grocery once a week, I can’t find out about a party on Monday that’s on Wednesday. There’s just not enough time for me to think of something creative to take and make it before then. Unless it’s like a charcuterie? Even then, that requires going to the store after work. And, well, we all know I’m useless after work.
This is where make ahead party recipes come in super handy! They’re a dish you can … make ahead!
Sorry. It’s early. I’m tired and punchy.
That’s one of the best things about a bread pudding; the longer it sits, the better it tastes! Bread pudding isn’t something you can whip up on the fly. It requires time to allow the bread to soak up the custard mixture. Otherwise, it’s just some baked bread in eggs. While equally delicious, that’s not a bread pudding.
Another great thing about this cranberry orange bread pudding, it’s make using leftover bread. Orange cranberry sweet rolls to be exact. I knew the hubs wasn’t going to eat them. There’s no way I could have eaten them all. And, in order to prevent them from being wasted, I thought, “Why not chop them up and make bread pudding out of them?”
Not only was it a great idea, but it was the perfect idea to have for Thanksgiving dessert! I struggled with what to make for dessert while Mom and A were here. It was the lightbulb moment. They enjoyed it. The hubs even ate a good sized piece not once but TWICE! I topped it with some frozen vanilla yogurt to cut some of the sweet and orange flavor.
I’m going to be honest here. I wasn’t even planning on sharing this recipe. I had it in my mind that it would be mediocre at best and not worth sharing. However, when I served it up and we all sat down to eat it, that’s when I knew. It was fabulous. The flavors were perfect and the ratio to custard and bread was spot on. The sweet tart flavor came through just the way I hoped.
I thought, “I can’t not share this. This bread pudding is fabulous, looks pretty, and is going on the blog!” Of course, I realize that it was only perfectly sweet and tart because the sweet rolls were that way, too. So, here’s the deal, if you want to make the rolls YAY! Otherwise, you could add some orange zest and dried cranberries to any old bread you have laying around. No, honestly, you have to use old bread otherwise it just turns to mush.
That’s probably one the best things about bread pudding; you get to use those old hot dog buns that are in the pantry. There’s some dinner rolls still back there for a month or so because preservatives keep them from molding. Or you’ve tossed it in the fridge and it’s now completely try. Perhaps you’ve even put some in the freezer to use it for another recipe later. Well, I’m here to tell you this is that recipe! Round up your old bread and put it to use making this orange cranberry bread pudding.
So, I say hot dog buns because we have this conversation every time I buy them. Most of the time, I forget that there are some already in the pantry that need eating. However, this past weekend, I knew those had been in there for a while. And, if you’re like me, you only toss bread out when it’s molded. No, not even when it’s rock hard. If it’s rock hard then you make bread crumbs out of it.
This weekend, I bought hot dog buns because I wanted to have hot dogs for lunch on Saturday. Then the whole emptying of the pantry and all the bread products started. *sigh*
For this reason, I saw hot dog buns. And they’re still in the pantry and I still need to make bread pudding. However, 4 hot dogs don’t make up a bread pudding. I’m going to need to use some of the good sandwich bread I bought to make up the difference.
Either way you slice it, you need some not so fresh bread. And it needs to sit in the refrigerator with the custard for at least 6 hours. Twenty-four hours would be best, but you can get away with 6. At least that’s what I did for our Thanksgiving. And I just have to say, it was a true pleasure to have family for a holiday dinner. Love you, Mom and A!
Just look at those layers of bread and cranberries.
Not only is this a make ahead recipe perfect for a dinner party, it’s one that doesn’t really require much preparation either. Honestly. It took me about 5 to 7 minutes to chop up the sweet rolls. Then probably another 10 to combine the milks and the eggs, spices, and flavors. Finally, top with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake. I took mine out about 30 minutes before putting in the oven.
What’s your favorite make ahead dinner party recipe? Make sure to scroll past the recipe and see what everyone else brought to the party!
- 6 cups day old sweet rolls, cubed
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1 cup milk
- 6 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Place the bread cubes in the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish.
- Combine the milks, eggs, and sugar in a mixing bowl.
- Sprinkle the cranberries and chopped pecans over the bread. Pour the egg mixture over the bread. Press the bread down to make sure it’s submerged in the custard. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes for before. Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes or until the custard is set. Allow to cool in pan 10 minutes before slicing, topping with vanilla ice cream, and serving.
Make Ahead Dinner Party Recipes
Ahead of Schedule Starters
- Beefy Au Gratin Potato Skins by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Chocolate Strawberry Brie Bites by The Freshman Cook
- Easy Chicken Liver Pâté by Palatable Pastime
- Pomegranate and Orange Champagne Punch by Our Good Life
- Rainbow Hummus by Wholistic Woman
- Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip by Soulfully Made
Earlier the Better Entrees
- Easy Grain-Free Whole30 Cauliflower Dirty Rice by Bites of Wellness
- Easy Slow Cooker Roast Beef Recipe by Sunday Supper Movement
- Slow Cooker Turkey Chili with Avocado by Cooking Chat