Simple Bread Pudding

2 cups milk
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, more for greasing pan
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
Pinch salt
1/2 loaf sweet egg bread like challah or brioche, cut into 2-inch cubes (about 5 to 6 cups)
2 eggs, beaten

There’s room for customization here: consider adding fresh or dried fruit or a combination of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cardamom.

It makes a great brunch dish, served with fresh fruit compote. Or add a handful of chocolate chips before baking for a decidedly more decadent outcome.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan over low heat, warm milk, butter, vanilla, sugar and salt. Continue cooking just until butter melts; cool. Meanwhile, butter a 4-to-6-cup baking dish and fill it with cubed bread.

Add eggs to cooled milk mixture and whisk; pour mixture over bread. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until custard is set but still a little wobbly and edges of bread have browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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