Challah Bread Pudding with Kahlua Cream Sauce

Challah Bread Pudding with Kahlua Cream Sauce

Challah Bread Pudding with Kahlua Cream Sauce

Those who read my blog regularly probably noticed an uncharacteristic silence lately. I haven’t posted a new recipe for a few weeks now. I’ve been receiving emails and messages from many of you wondering where I’ve gone. First of all, I want to thank you for all your kind words. I’m doing fine. I just needed to hit pause for a few weeks. Some pretty major shifts have been happening around me, forks in the road that have made me step back and reevaluate my priorities. The blog had started feeling like an obligation, a chore. That was never my intention. I always wanted my recipes and posts to reflect my passion for life. The idea was to share positive energy and my love for cooking. Suddenly I felt myself dreading it all—the writing, the photography, the comment moderation, the endless sharing on social media—all of the things that professional bloggers do to keep their audiences engaged and growing. It began to feel like a business, which is not what I envisioned in the beginning. I always wanted this to be a cozy cooking community, a place where food lovers could share their thoughts and learn from each other. Instead, I was fielding endless media requests and sponsored post opportunities and advertising requests. I needed a chance to disconnect and breathe.

Then I lost a close friend, and the disconnection turned to introspection. I’m writing this post from a vacation condo in Hawaii, in the very same complex where I started my blog on January 1, 2010. Life has a funny way of coming full circle. The day I started my blog, I was filled with excitement and a bit of fear. Food blogging was still somewhat new, and I truly had no idea what I was doing. But I overcame my nerves and pressed publish, never realizing what a strange, crazy, amazing journey this website would take me on.

Me and Beth at Sammy's Roumanian

Tori and Beth at Sammy’s Roumanian in 2010

A few weeks after I started my blog, my husband and I sat down with our good friend Beth Trachtenberg. We ate a meal together at Sammy’s Roumanian in New York City. Beth expressed to me how much she admired my blog. She was an astute and tenacious businesswoman, someone I greatly admired. I was excited when she told me that she believed I had a future as an important voice in the food world. It was gratifying to know that this woman, a successful producer and one of the smartest people I knew, believed in me.

Over the next few years Beth took on the role of mentor, manager, friend and confidant. She helped me grow the blog from a small corner of the web into one of the top food blogs in the country. But Beth was more than a business associate; she held a very special place in my heart. She helped my husband launch his passion project, a musical that he’d wanted to produce since childhood. She was there when I married the love of my life. She became part of our family. Like true family we experienced ups and downs, but we never lost that deep feeling of connection. She was a rare soul.

Beth Trachtenberg

Beth speaking at my wedding reception in 2011

It’s difficult to imagine navigating the journey of my life without Beth. I’m not going to go into her illness here, because she never wanted to be viewed as a victim. She was incredibly strong to the very end, and I don’t believe she wanted us to grieve. Instead, I think she would prefer for us to remember her as she was in life… a two-time Jeopardy champion, brilliant and vital and warm and loving, smiling and often laughing hysterically. She was always eating something naughty and delicious yet never seemed to gain a pound. She loved Israel passionately. She adored sunbathing and traveling and binge watching great TV shows. She drank Coke instead of wine and had friends in every city. There will never be another like Beth.

In Hawaii remembering Beth

In Hawaii remembering Beth

I had already decided to take a break from blogging when I heard the news that Beth had passed away. Five years after that fateful lunch at Sammy’s Roumanian, I found myself on vacation in Hawaii in the very same spot where this blog began. I took this past week by the water to recharge and connect with my family. I slept a lot and didn’t spend much time on my phone or laptop. More than anything else, I took time to mourn my dear friend Beth. It’s very hard to imagine a world without her.

Beth and Tori

Beth and Tori, 2010

I’ll be back with new recipes soon. Meanwhile, I wanted to re-share Beth’s favorite recipe from my collection. Beth enjoyed cooking and she never counted calories… just one of the many ways she lived life to the fullest. Whenever she came out for a visit she always asked me to make my “famous” Challah Bread Pudding. In loving memory of Beth I’m posting it just the way she liked it, topped with warm Kahlua cream sauce.

Note: You may see some comments below that date all the way back to 2010. That’s because this is an update of an older post; the recipe has not changed, but I have rephotographed it in honor of my friend Beth.

Challah Bread Pudding with Kahlua Cream Sauce

Challah Bread Pudding with Kahlua Cream Sauce

Challah Bread Pudding Ingredients

  • 1 loaf plain (unseeded) challah bread- day old is okay
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 quart half and half
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups raisins and/or chocolate chips (optional)

Kahlua Cream Sauce Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 tbsp Kahlua liqueur
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

You will also need

  • Electric mixer or immersion blender


  • It can be difficult to find Kahlua with a kosher hechsher. Imported Kahlua under the Spanish label was approved by Star K in 2008, but the standards can change. If you're concerned about this, simply double the vanilla in the sauce in place of kahlua.
Prep Time: 45 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
Total Time: 2 Hours
Servings: 12
Kosher Key: Dairy
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the challah bread into 1-inch cubes. You’ll need about 12 cups of loosely packed cubes. If you don’t have enough challah on hand, you can mix in any kind of light-colored bread to make up the difference (white, buttermilk, Hawaiian). Spread into a single layer on two cookie sheets, place in oven, and lightly toast the cubes for 7-8 minutes until they are dry and just beginning to brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  • Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium. Toast the chopped walnut pieces, stirring constantly, until they begin the lighter colored parts of the walnut flesh begin to brown. Remove from heat.
  • In a very large mixing bowl, combine half and half, beaten eggs, sugar, brown sugar, melted butter, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and salt. Use an electric mixer or immersion blender to thoroughly blend all ingredients.
  • Pour the toasted challah cubes, chopped walnuts, and raisins into the liquid mixture. Stir all ingredients together for a couple of minutes until the bread cubes have soaked up most of the liquid. You may have to lightly mash some of the bread cubes down to make sure they’re fully immersed in liquid.
  • Generously grease a 9×13 baking dish or pan. Pour the bread pudding mixture into the dish, being sure to scrape any excess liquid from the bowl. Cover tightly with foil. Bake pudding at 350 degrees F for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours. Take off the foil after 1 hour to let the top brown.
  • The pudding is done when the top is brown and springy to the touch. The center of the pudding should be baked through, not liquid. Serve warm topped with Kahlua Cream Sauce.
  • To make the Kahlua Cream Sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add heavy whipping cream to the pan, whisking to blend with the butter.
  • Add egg, sugar, flour, nutmeg and salt to the pan. Whisk continuously for about 10 minutes until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Whisk in Kahlua and vanilla.
  • Serve warm atop freshly baked bread pudding.
  • Challah Bread Pudding with Kahlua Cream Sauce

Comments (103)Post a Comment

  1. I am a huge fan of challah bread and cannot wait to make this recipe. I also love kalhua for its creaminess. It sounds like a terrific combo. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reporting it how it came out

  2. oh wow this just looks– wow. can’t believe i didn’t find ur blog sooner, consider me ur #1 fan now. droolz.

  3. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This sounds amazing…and perfect for us, because I always end up with extra challah. Sometimes I forget to put it in the freezer, so I need ways to use it before it goes stale. Thanks so much!

  4. I am a diabetic but I still make things I can take a small taste of and give rest away to share. I love raisins & choc. chips. I will put small amt. of both.

  5. HickCup.. HickCup…. I think I added to much Kalhua…
    Oh Welll… As always Tori.. Delish… Shabbat Shalom…;-)

  6. You are amazing! thanks for your recipes and insights.. we will try some of yor inspiration at our house this week! with love from the FiveTowns, NY!!!

  7. Fran, you could try subbing soy creamer, I think it would work fine! The sauce won’t be as creamy but it’s worth a shot. If you try it let me know how it works out for you!

    Cyndi thank you so much! Enjoy the recipes. :)

    1. Hi Melissa! Yes, you can do that, just cover it in foil and heat at 350 for 15-20 minutes to warm it up. I do recommend you make the sauce fresh, though… It only takes a few minutes. Enjoy!

  8. That recipe looks absolutely fabulous, but I would have to run for a week before and after. Could I use fat free Half and half?

    1. Hi Shari! Yes, you can use fat free half and half to lighten things up. Don’t sub the heavy whipping cream in the sauce, though, as the creamy sauce really makes this dish. Let me know how it turns out for you!

  9. This is exactly what I do with leftover challah! Always chocolate chips, never raisins for my crew (although I do love raisins myself). Sometimes other fruit, like bananas or, at this time of year, cherries. Mmmm, now I want some!

  10. Hi Tori–
    I love your blogs and recipes. I have many Jewish friends and have a particular affectation for sweets. I unfortunately live in an area that I find to be less than
    “cosmopolitan” and lacking in cultural diversities. If i am unable to find Challah bread what would you suggest as a substitution??

    Thanks. Melanie

    1. Hi Melanie, no worries! You can substitute any kind of eggy, absorbent bread or brioche for the pudding– Hawaiian bread would work great. Any bakery should be able to recommend a fluffy, eggy bread substitute. Stay away from anything whole wheat or whole grain. :)

      Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, you can make your own challah bread! Here are the links to my challah bread blogs:

      link to

      link to

    2. Melanie–Potato Bread is a good substitute for challah. I get it at most large groceries or at Trader Joe’s or Costco.

  11. mmm, kahlua and chocolate chips. That’s a pretty neat twist on a traditional recipe. There are quite a few rather “decadent” Hungarian recipes, too but this sounds truly “naughty”:))))

  12. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I made a half batch in a 9×9 casserole because I had used half the loaf of challah bread for french toast. I didn’t have Kahlua so I used dark rum and it came out great! I also scraped some vanilla into both pudding and sauce as my husband is a vanilla bean nut. I used chocolate chips this time but will use raisins next time. Thanks for the idea

  13. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This recipe is incredibly delicious and very versatile! Last night I made it to share with friends in our chilly New England sukkah, using pumpkin challah and omitting the Kahlua sauce. I also substituted a good-quality soy creamer (for a friend who is lactose intolerant) for the half and half (and vegan margarine for the butter) which worked beautifully. Turns out it rained, so the sukkah felt a little soggy, but the bread pudding was SUBLIME and warmed us all up in no time!!!

  14. Forgot to mention that I did add the toasted walnuts, along with chocolate chunks. The only issue I have now is how to avoid devouring the leftovers myself!

  15. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Made this (using chocolate chips) for a Chanukah dinner party last night. Turned out that there were some bread-pudding doubters at the table. But everyone ate dessert and then voted that this was the best bread pudding they had ever had! Thank you! You always make me look great!

  16. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I usually have a rule that I don’t serve a recipe to guests before I try it on my own first. I broke that rule last night by trying this, but it turned out to be a big hit! One of my guests is Canadian and he explaind to me that bread pudding is big in Canada (I had no idea) and he loved it. I didn’t have raisins so I used dried cherries and dried cranberries. It came out great. I only made half a recipe of the cream sauce and that turned out to be enough. Thanks for the recipe!

  17. Can I make a day ahead of my dear Jewish friends birthday? How should she re-heat, and can I make the Kaluha creme ahead of time as well and store in the fridge? And how should my friend reheat the cream as well?????

  18. Have you ever used a different size pan? Just trying to decide if it was a deeper pan, would it cook properly? I don’t have a pretty 9×13, so was thinking of an oval pyrex (2.8 liter).

    1. Depends on how deep the pan is. Cooking time will need to be adjusted, and if it’s very deep it may brown faster than it cooks through, so you may need to protect the top with foil as it cooks. Since I haven’t tested it in an oval pyrex I can’t give you more specific directions, if you try it let us know how it turns out!

  19. I just told my family all about you @ Shabbat dinner tonight. I told them you would be wishing everyone Shabbat Sholom tonight and voila here you are. Thank you for your thoughtful weekly wishes. I make my own Challah and I used your method of round Challah braiding….beautiful!! Your recipe sounds tasty, looking forward to trying it. I use my challah to make pumpkin (pie) bread pudding it is really delicious. I’m happy to share it with you if you are interested. Have a great weekend…you are having torrential down pours and we are having the polar vortex in Michigan…all my wishes to you and your family to stay dry with no flooding!! .,;-)

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