This recipe combines two of my favorite desserts: malasadas and bread pudding! It’s got everything that I love about bread pudding: soft bread soaked in sweet custard with cinnamon sprinkled over the top. My family enjoys it with a sweet vanilla bean sauce poured on top (which is included in the recipe below!).
In Hawaii, we seem to always have a box of malasadas lying around, and although they’re delicious, sometimes it’s hard to finish the whole box before they start getting stale (and they get stale fast!). This is a great way to use up your leftover malasadas or donuts and to turn them into something absolutely delicious. Plus, it’s so incredibly easy to make!
What are malasadas?
Malasadas are originally from Portugal but have become incredibly popular here in Hawaii. They’re a type of fried donut made from a yeast dough. Usually, they come coated in granulated sugar or sometimes cinnamon. Traditionally, they are enjoyed on Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.
They were brought to Hawaii by immigrants that traveled here to work for the pineapple or sugar plantations. Today, we enjoy malasadas year-round, with certain bakeries specializing in them. You can even get them with various fillings or toppings! Malasadas are deliciously sweet, with a crisp outer layer and a soft and pillowy center.
The perfect bread pudding
Using malasadas in place of regular French bread results in an amazingly textured bread pudding. The sweet crust of the malasadas holds up even after hours of sitting in custard. It worked great with the frozen malasadas, but you could also use regular malasadas instead (especially if they are a couple of days old).
If you wanted to use this recipe to make regular bread pudding just use 1 loaf of French bread in place of 8 malasadas. You’ll also want to double the amount of sugar added to the custard since regular bread doesn’t have any of the added sugar like malasadas do. You could also try this recipe with other types of donuts you may have on hand.
The vanilla sauce
This is probably my favorite part of this recipe and I believe that this is how all bread puddings should be served. The vanilla sauce is made from a simple mixture of sugar, egg yolks, heavy cream, and vanilla extract. I used a vanilla bean paste (instead of extract) to achieve a stronger and purer taste.
Making the vanilla sauce simply requires you to temper your egg yolks with the cream and vanilla mixture. You have to chill it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to give it enough time to thicken. If you are worried about timing, you can always make it the day before and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. And don’t worry about making too much sauce… it’s great on everything!
Store leftover bread pudding in an airtight container for up to 5-6 days. This bread pudding is delicious, whether you serve it warm, at room temp, or cold. So, next time you have any leftover malasadas or donuts, don’t throw them out! Instead, save them to make this easy sweet treat that’s perfect for sharing with friends and family.
Malasada Bread Pudding
For the vanilla sauce:
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla bean paste or extract
For the bread pudding:
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
- 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tbsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 8 stale or frozen malasadas
Make the vanilla sauce:
- Pour heavy cream into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Add vanilla and mix until combined. Take off heat.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar together until pale yellow and creamy.
- When the cream has cooled down slightly, pour it into the eggs very very slowly. Whisk vigorously and continuously to avoid curdling.
- Once everything is incorporated, pour the mixture into a double boiler. Place over medium heat.
- Stir until the mixture reaches 180° F. The mixture should thicken and it should coat the back of a spoon. Do not let it get over 180° or else it may break. Transfer the mixture into an ice bath.
- Chill sauce in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to thicken.
Make the bread pudding:
- Cut the malasadas into bite-sized pieces. The texture is great if you cut them in slightly different sizes. Spread them out into a large casserole pan (I used a 2.8 liter size).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
- Add vanilla and two eggs and mix until combined well. Add the next two eggs and mix again.
- Pour the heavy cream into the bowl. Mix until smooth and everything is combined.
- Pour the mixture evenly over the malasada pieces. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon. Cover lightly and let stand for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cover the top with foil and bake the bread pudding in a water bath for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Take the foil off and bake for another 15 minutes to brown the top.
- Let the bread pudding cool slightly. Serve with prepared vanilla sauce.