Easy Bread Pudding with Dessert Sauce

Last week in my post about microwave peanut brittle, I mentioned that bread pudding is one of my favorite desserts and promised to share my recipe with you some day. Since then I have been overwhelmed with requests for it... so... today I share =)

***News Bulletin*** We interrupt this post with an update on RPC's entry in the Los Angeles Marathon LA Acura Bike Tour.
I did it!!! Yay me!!! It was such a great feeling doing that ride this weekend. Not such a great feeling when my alarm went of at 3am and I had to choke down a Powerbar before getting out of bed (I'm not one who eats first thing in the morning... especially at 3am which is technically the middle of the night for most of us! LOL) but the ride itself was great. It was definitely challenging but it wasn't difficult and certainly was not tough. I rode the entire course... I did not stop... I did not walk any hills... I stayed on my bike and worked it out!!! Cuz like I said, the Repressed Pastry Chef ain't no creampuff :) :) :) Here's the stats: 22.3miles... 1hr 31minutes... max speed 27mph and average pace 13.8mph. And when it was all done and we crossed the finish line, I felt so good I could have easily done the course again. I wasn't exhausted and I wasn't wiped out... I was exhilarated!!!!! I can't wait to do the next one :) Thanks for all your good vibes and mojo that helped carry me through.
Okay, now let's get back to the important stuff... like Bread Pudding... M'mmmmm...

Typically bread pudding is made with lots of eggs and cream. It's pretty heavy weight stuff with an astronomical calorie count. But I'm on Weight Watchers and always looking for ways to lighten up my favorite foods. My recipe for bread pudding has three major substitutions... Splenda instead of sugar... 1% milk instead of cream... and Egg Beaters instead of eggs.... and it still comes out fantastic!! Now sure, if you're not watching your weight or just have a desire to make the leaded version, by all means, use sugar, eggs and cream. There's no rule that says you have to do it my way :) Even my dessert sauce is lightened up a bit by using I Can't Believe It's Not Butter - Light instead of butter... but you can always use the real stuff if that's the way you roll :)

I've listed out the "formal" directions below but here's the high-level overview for those of you who want a quick-n-pretty version ;-)

1) Spray your pan
2) Break up the bread and sprinkle the apples and raisins on top

3) Combine your liquids and pour the mixture on top

4) using a spatula, gently press down on the bread to ensure it's all soaked down into the liquid

5) pop it in the oven... and bake
6) remove from the oven... looks great!!
7) scoop some outta the pan (notice the warm, gooey innards under that lightly browned crust)
8) top with the dessert sauce... and ENJOY!! (happy noises like nom-nom-nom are allowed here)

Okay, so that's the quick-and-pretty for ya. As I said, I make this with lots of substitutions cuz that's the way I roll. If you'd rather use whole milk or even cream, real sugar, real butter and fresh eggs, by all means do so! And if you don't care for raisins... omit them. If you prefer dried cherries... use them. You can easily use this recipe as a jumping off points for lots of different varieties. I know people that use no fruit and instead use chocolate chips! Do whatcha like... but do make this!!!
On your mark... get set... GO! ... go make your own :)

Bread Pudding
6 slices "Texas Toast" bread... broken into 1" pieces
4c 1% milk
1/2c raisins
1/2c apples... chopped
1 1/3c Egg Beaters
4T Splenda
1T Vanilla Extract
1t cinnamon
1t nutmeg

DIRECTIONS (Bread Pudding)
Preheat oven to 350F, Spray a 9" x 13" casserole dish with nonstick spray. Place bread in casserole dish and spread out evenly. Sprinkle with apples and raisins. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, Egg Beaters, Splenda, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour evenly over the bread/apples/raisins Bake for about 55 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out cleanly. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Serve warm. Refrigerate remainder

Dessert Sauce
3 tablespoons I Can't Believe It's Not Butter - Light
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS (Dessert Sauce)
In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the ICBINB-L. Add flour and salt; stir until smooth. Stir in brown sugar and remaining butter. Blend thoroughly and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until bubbles form. Remove from heat and carefully stir in boiling water. Return to heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened. Add vanilla extract and stir until well blended. Serve hot.