Need an easy dessert for a special occasion? This recipe for dairy-free vanilla bread pudding takes minutes to throw together and is topped with a quick vanilla crème drizzle. For added depth in flavor, it’s also infused with a hazelnut liqueur, like Frangelico. But we have additional options, including non-alcoholic and nut-free.
Dairy-Free Vanilla Bread Pudding with a Sweet Crème Drizzle
This recipe was originally created by Amanda Digges, and submitted for our Spring Fling Dairy-Free Recipe Contest, held many years ago. Amanda took an ordinary bread recipe, and elevated it with an infusion of hazelnut liqueur and a quick vanilla crème drizzle, that’s also spiked with hazelnut liqueur. We’ve since updated her recipe and also have some quick tips and options to share.
Hazelnut Liqueur Substitutions
You can use another type of liqueur, like Amaretto, which is almond flavored, or even Bailey’s Almande, if you have it on hand. Or you can go alcohol-free! One option is to substitute 1/2 teaspoon hazelnut or almond extract for the liqueur, and add more liquid (up to 1/4 cup), if needed. Or, you can substitute a hazelnut creamer for the liqueur. I like to use nutpods, since it’s unsweetened, but Califia Farms, Silk, and others have dairy-free hazelnut creamer options.
Coconut Milk Tips
A can of coconut milk typically contains a little less than 2 cups – closer to 1 3/4 cups. Rather than crack open a new can of lite coconut milk, measure out the full-fat coconut milk you’ll need for the sauce, and add the rest to the coconut milk for your dairy-free vanilla bread pudding. Together, the two cans make the 3 1/2 cups that you need for the full recipe, and the bread pudding won’t suffer with just a smidgen more fat.
If you don’t have lite coconut milk available, you can simply use full-fat coconut milk thinned with milk beverage. I use about 2/3 cup full-fat coconut milk + 1 1/3 cups milk beverage to get 2 cups lite coconut milk.
Special Diet Notes: Dairy-Free Vanilla Bread Pudding
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, optionally gluten-free, optionally nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and vegetarian.
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (light or dark)
- 4 large eggs
- ¼ cup hazelnut liqueur (see Liqueur Note below)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 2 cups lite canned coconut milk
- 4 cups day-old bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (see Bread Note below)
- 1½ cups full-fat canned coconut milk
- 1 cup vanilla dairy-free milk beverage (Amanda uses almond milk)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ cup hazelnut liqueur
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, liqueur, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg until very smooth. Whisk in the lite coconut milk until smooth. Stir in the bread.
- Refrigerate the unbaked bread pudding for a minimum of 2 hours, and up to overnight.
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8-inch loaf pan or pie pan.
- Pour the bread pudding mixture into your prepared pan and even it out.
- Bake until the bread pudding is set in the center, about 1 hour. A toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean.
- Let the bread pudding cool for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Heat the coconut milk, milk beverage, sugar, and vanilla in a saucepan over high heat, whisking vigorously for 3 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the liqueur and cornstarch until the starch is dissolved.
- When bubbles begin to form around the edges of the cream mixture, whisk in your cornstarch-liqueur slurry. Continue whisking until slightly thickened. The sauce is meant to be fairly thin (think bisque NOT gravy).
- To serve, slice the dairy-free bread pudding and drizzle with the hazelnut crème.
Bread Note: Amanda likes to use a combination of French bread and dairy-free cinnamon bread, but any slightly stale bread will work great. If your bread is fresh, gently toast / dry out the cubes on a baking sheet in a 200 degree oven. You can use gluten-free bread, if needed.
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