I was in Epcot last month with a friend of mine and as we stumbled (literally – Epcot drinking games still exist) into Germany, a sign for caramel pretzel bread pudding caught my eye. I’d never had such a bread pudding and the moment I tasted it, I just knew it had to be my next recipe. Comparable to the most decadent French toast ever, this one is perfect for breakfast, dessert or both and it’s a lovely variation of my classic bread pudding except we use pretzel bread instead of croissants and, in place of a whiskey glaze, load it up with a vanilla and caramel sauce!
The Pretzel Bread
The Bread Pudding Mixture
The Finishing Touches
The Bread Pudding
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) salted butter
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 pound pretzel bread, ripped up into chunks about the 1-inch (see Jeff's Tips)
- 2-4 tablespoons caramel sauce (I used Smucker's found in the ice cream toppings section in the market - usually near the ice cream itself), plus more for topping
- Sea salt, for topping
- 1 cup confectioners' (powdered) sugar
- 1/2 - 1 cup heavy cream, half-and-half or whole milk (the more cream the thinner the glaze)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add the butter to the Instant Pot and hit Sauté and Adjust to the Normal or Medium setting. Once melted, add the milk, wite and brown suggars and vanilla. Stir just until everything is combined and the milk is warm and hit Cancel to turn the pot off (NOTE: do not let the milk mixture bubble). Remove the liner pot and let the milk mixture cool until lukewarm, but not hot. This should take about 15-20 minutes (placing the pot in the fridge can speed this along). We do this so when we add the eggs, they don't cook in the milk! Once cooled or lukewarm, add the beaten eggs and cinnamon to the milk mixture and whisk until combined into a custard.
- Place the cubed pretzel bread in a large bowl and pour the custard over it along with the caramel sauce. Mix together with clean hands until all the pretzel bread is sopping up the custard. It should look wet and loose. Cover and place in the fridge for 1 hour to chill and firm up.
- Take a nonstick 6-cup bundt pan and spray all over with nonstick spray. By now the bread pudding mixture should be less runny and more absorbed, but still pretty loose. Evenly distribute the custard-soaked pretzel bread in it. Cover with foil, poking a hole in the center of the bundt for steam to come through. Place in a silicone sling.
- Rinse the liner pot out, add 1 1/2 cups water and return the liner pot to the Instant Pot. Lower the sling with the Bundt into the pot. Secure the lid and move the valve to the sealing position. Hit Pressure Cook or Manual for 30 minutes at High Pressure. Quick release when done, remove the sling and let the Bundt cool on the counter for 10-15 minutes with the foil removed.
- Make the glaze by mixing together The Glaze ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
- Once cooled, place a large plate (with a diameter larger than the Bundt pan's) over the Bundt. Carefully flip it and then tap with your hands or a spoon. The bread pudding should slide right out onto the plate (if it doesn't, use a knife to loosen the edges and it will).
- Generously drizzle the glaze on top of the bread pudding in a squiggly fashion followed by more generous squiggles of the caramel sauce. Serve now when warm or later when at room temp - it's great either way! When slicing, sprinkle some sea salt on top of each serving and feel free to drizzle additional glaze or caramel sauce. Store leftovers in a cake caddy.
For the pretzel bread, I used 5 Pretzilla brand pretzel buns (found in yhe bakery section of my market; though some Costcos also sell Pretzilla as little balls which you can rip in half so the bread is exposed). That said, you can also use 1 pound worth of soft pretzels from the frozen section. Just microwave them until soft.
Do NOT use regular hard pretzels for this as it will not be the right consistency. The pretzel situation needs to be chewy and smooth (as it is a bread pudding afterall), not crunchy and coarse.