Bread pudding by any other name tastes just as freakin' fantastic.
I had five nice big leftover Hot Cross Buns from Tuesday, but they were a bit dry for eating, so of course I thought of making a bread pudding. The best bread pudding I've ever had was in a restaurant in New Orleans where it was served with a ridiculously good whiskey caramel sauce. Ever since then, I always order bread pudding when I see it on a menu (which isn't often), although I haven't found one that's as good as the one I had in The Big Easy.
I wanted to give today's dessert a different texture and flavor, so I decided to combine the basic bread pudding idea with a Greek dish called galopita, or "milk pie." Galopita is a traditional dessert made with milk, eggs, sugar, butter and semolina flour. In case you aren't familiar with it, semolina is the coarsely ground durham wheat that is used in pasta making, and it has a beautiful golden color and the texture of fine sand.
If you like bread pudding, or french toast or anything like that, you are going to like this recipe.
5 large dried out hot cross buns (or brioche, or challah, but if you use those, add a dash of cinnamon to this recipe)
1/4 cup semolina
3 1/2 cups milk
4 large eggs
1 small can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Find a large baking dish, I used my white oval lasagna/casserole pan I got from Ikea. Rub the inside of the pan with the tablespoon of butter. Slice the buns or bread into big chunks. With the buns I cut them in half, then each half into fourths. Squish the pieces into the pan so you have a nice even tight fitting layer of bread. Sprinkle the 1/4 cup semolina flour over the top.
In a large bowl, mix the other ingredients with a whisk until the eggs are beaten in well. Pour this over the top of the bread, then let the whole thing soak for at least ten minutes before you pop the pan in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, you should have a nice light golden brown color on the highest bits.
I really recommend serving this straight out of the oven. I don't think it needs a sauce or anything, but if you do a sauce I say do a toffee sauce or caramel sauce, or serve this for a Sunday breakfast with good maple syrup.