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A Delicious Mistake

December 7th, 2010

On Saturday I decided to bake up a batch of cranberry rolls just for Mr Chiots’ arrival home from his week of hunting. He loves these and would be thrilled to have some when he got home. These are a delicious way to use up some of that extra cranberry apple relish you have sitting in the fridge from Thanksgiving. I made a batch of dough, rolled it out, filled it with cranberry relish, put them in a pan and whacked them in the oven. They smelled fantastic while baking.

Then it all went south (no offense to those of you who live in the South). I always use a thermometer to determine when my bread is finished, especially rolls. I like to bake them to about 185, when they’ll be slightly doughy, but not too much. I like them this way and I find that they stay fresh longer. I pulled out my thermometer to test the dough and it only registered 85. “Weird!” I thought, “they’ve been in long enough” (note to self, always trust instincts). I put them back in the oven for 10 more minutes then checked them again, still not much warmer. It was then I noticed that the thermometer had been switched to Celsius. I switched it quickly back and it registered over 210 – too high for soft rolls.

I let them cool hoping for the best, but they were too dry and the edges were extremely crispy. They were OK, still edible if we wanted to eat them, but not the culinary delight I was hoping for. I suddenly remembered a recipe for plum bread pudding in The River Cottage Cookbook (fabulous book BTW, if you want a great read about growing/raising your own quality food with cheeky UK humor read this book, I’m thoroughly enjoying it).

These rolls would make the best bread pudding ever, with their rich sweet dough, the cranberries and ginger already inside. I followed the recipe for the most part, steeping the milk & cream with a vanilla bean and some cinnamon sticks, I added a few more spoonfuls of cranberries in with the torn bread. I reduced the sugar by half, since I was using sweet bread and I don’t like my food to be too sweet. I doubled the recipe below to use up the entire batch of rolls.

Cranberry Bread Pudding
(adapted from The River Cottage Cookbook)

1 small loaf of stale bread (or in this case a half a batch of rolls)
2 cups of whole milk
3/4 cup cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 sticks of cinnamon
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
Cranberry relish left over from Thanksgiving (about 1 cup or more to taste)
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger (optional)

Split vanilla bean lengthwise and place it in pan with milk and cream along with cinnamon sticks. Bring them almost to a boil, turn off heat, allow to steep for 20-30 minutes.

In large bowl, whisk eggs, egg yolks and sugar together until thoroughly blended. Remove vanilla bean and cinnamon sticks from milk (you can rinse and use again for mulling cider, flavoring sugar, etc). Pour the cream and milk slowly into the egg mixture stirring with whisk to combine into a well-blended custard.

Cut bread into slices or tear into large chunks. Layer in buttered tall casserole dish, occasionally adding small spoonfuls of cranberry relish and sprinkling in crystallized ginger as you fill dish.

Pour the custard slowly over the bread moving around the dish, work slowly so it is absorbed. Let dish rest for 30 minutes while preheating oven to 350.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden brown and the custard is just set but still slightly wobbly (you can test with knife to see if it’s done). Serve while warm. It’s also delicious cold the next day.

It baked up into the most wonderfully delicious breakfast. Crispy on the outside and on top, rich and gooey on the inside, like good custardy french toast *only better*. It could be topped with some vanilla sauce if desired, but that would make it sweeter and much closer to a dessert than a good hearty breakfast.

My over baked rolls turned into the most delicious mistake, better than the intended recipe – here’s to making most of a bad thing!

Have you ever made the most of a cooking mistake and ended up with something far better with a little creativity?

17 Comments to “A Delicious Mistake”
  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mark mile, Susy Morris. Susy Morris said: A Delicious Mistake #recipe #breadpudding […]

    Reply to Tweets that mention A Delicious Mistake | Chiot’s Run —'s comment

  2. Sense of Home on December 7, 2010 at 10:14 am

    This sounds delicious! And what a great save! I have a cranberry scone recipe I have been meaning to make, maybe this weekend.

    Have a good day,

    Reply to Sense of Home's comment

  3. kristin @ going country on December 7, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Yup–weird mushy freezer pickles turned into relish come to mind . . .

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  4. Nena on December 7, 2010 at 10:46 am

    How inventive! Finally a use for left of cranberries that my family will love. If that’s not turning lemons into lemonade, I don’t know what is.

    Reply to Nena's comment

  5. Miranda on December 7, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Nice! I love it when mistakes turn awesome. I freakin’ love bread pudding and wish you would mail me some RIGHT.NOW.

    Reply to Miranda's comment

  6. Morgan G on December 7, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Oh gosh, Susy. Unintended results are standard operating procedure in my kitchen. Some for better, some for worse, but it’s always good for a chuckle…unless guests are coming over. :)

    Reply to Morgan G's comment

  7. Sandy on December 7, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    You have made my day by combining two of my favorite things. Bread pudding is my favorite dessert by far. And cranberries – I love them any way I can get them.

    Thank you for sharing this.


    Reply to Sandy's comment

  8. Seren Dippity on December 7, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    I made a gravy for my Roasted Chicken and 40 cloves out of the pan drippings that was way too strongly seasoned. It was politely ignored at the dinner I served it at. But I didn’t want to waste it. The next day, I thinned it down with about a quart of chicken broth and using left over chicken made chicken and dumplings. omg. The roasted garlic came out to sing in the broth. The flavors were awesome. Best chicken and dumplings I had ever made. From then on I have incorporated roasted garlic into my recipe and get rave reviews for it.

    Reply to Seren Dippity's comment

    • Susy on December 7, 2010 at 10:48 pm

      Great idea, I often use leftover gravy as a soup base, overly seasoned gravy would be even better! I LOVE chicken & dumplings, it was the meal I always requested for by birthday as a girl.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. Amy @ Homestead Revival on December 7, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    I’m not a bread pudding fan, but that actually looks really good! Just yesterday we (okay, really my daughter) were making bread and forgot to put in the yeast. Definitely noticeable after the first rise. I would have thrown it out in frustration, but she figured out that you can make a paste with water and yeast, then knead it into the dough and move to the first rising. Worked perfectly!

    Reply to Amy @ Homestead Revival's comment

    • Susy on December 8, 2010 at 8:20 am

      On occasion, when I have bread that isn’t rising as intended I usually just roll it out and make flatbreads from it. Mixing in the yeast as paste is a great idea.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  10. Melissa on December 7, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    Oh, yum! I adore cranberries, but I’ve never had cranberry bread pudding… my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

    Reply to Melissa's comment

  11. Sarah on December 8, 2010 at 12:18 am

    Good save! I don’t usually go for cranberries but this is one I’d like to try.

    Reply to Sarah's comment

  12. Vegetable Garden Cooke on December 8, 2010 at 2:28 am

    I sure hope my cranberry plants produce next year. I put the book on my Amazon wishlist.

    Reply to Vegetable Garden Cooke's comment

  13. Ria Baeck on December 8, 2010 at 8:07 am

    Thanks for inspiring me too! If you have this convertor for Celsius and Fahrenheit… I would love to see also Celsius mentioned; would be enormous helpful.

    Reply to Ria Baeck's comment

  14. Lacy on December 8, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    I was once making a cake for my best friend who is diabetic, and I just replaced all the sugar with Splenda — this was before they had Splenda for baking.

    It pretty much erupted like a volcano, but it still tasted pretty good, so we crumbled it up and made parfaits instead!

    Reply to Lacy's comment

  15. Corner Garden Sue on December 9, 2010 at 9:28 am

    I need to get back into baking bread. I’m not thinking of mistakes that turned good right now, but I sure enjoyed reading about yours, and seeing your photos.

    Oh, I do have a story about a mistake I made. When my mother-in-law passed, we had lots of shaved ham. We were at the house, and I decided to make a huge batch of SOS. She had some containers she had put flour and such in, but even though I kept adding more and more of what I thought was flour, the SOS was not thickening. Finally, I tasted it, and whew, it was sweet! I had been adding powdered sugar, not flour! We ate it, but it was not so good.

    Reply to Corner Garden Sue's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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