Employee Recipe Series: Leslie Mackie’s Brioche Bread Pudding

We’re celebrating our 30th Anniversary by sharing some of our staff’s favorite recipes using Macrina Bakery products.

As we all know, many of the best things in life are unplanned. This delightful creation was serendipitously born when Leslie Mackie, the founder of Macrina Bakery, found herself with a leftover loaf of our Columba Pasquale — a brioche-like Easter bread enriched with brandy, interspersed with candied orange peel, and topped with sliced almonds — and a bag of fresh Bing cherries, just in time for a Mother’s Day brunch.

“It was one of the best bread puddings I’ve ever made,” she says. “Columba Pasquale has a great texture for bread pudding, and the sliced almonds, candied orange peel, and brandy in the bread were great with the tart cherries.”

Since we only bake Columba Pasquale for Easter, Leslie adapted the recipe to our Brioche loaf, which is available throughout the year. (Challah is another delicious alternative.)

This recipe calls for fresh cherries, but you can also use dried cherries. Just reduce the amount to ¾ cup and soak them in warm water for 10 minutes to rehydrate before adding them to the bread.

Leslie’s Brioche Bread Pudding Recipe

Use one 10-inch Pie Pan; Serves 6


1 loaf of Macrina’s Brioche bread
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1 cup Bing cherries, halved and pitted
1½ cups heavy cream
1½ cups whole milk
3 large eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
1 tsp brandy
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp candied orange peel, diced
⅓ cup sliced almonds


Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Cut ⅓ off the Brioche loaf and reserve for another use. Remove crusts from the remainder then cut into ¼-inch thick slices. Cut each slice in half to create “tiles” (roughly 2-inches by 4-inches).

Place the sliced bread on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Flip the bread pieces, then toast for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove the toasted bread from the oven and let it cool slightly. Brush both sides of the bread with melted butter (reserve a little bit to brush your baking dish to prevent sticking).

While the bread is toasting and cooling, pit and halve your fresh cherries. Toss them in 1½ Tbsp of sugar and let them sit for about 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the heavy cream, milk, eggs, remaining sugar, brandy, and vanilla extract. Whisk well and set aside.

Brush a 10-inch pie dish with some of the remaining melted butter.

Arrange the toasted and buttered brioche “tiles” in the pie dish in a rosette format. Start by forming a circle with the “tiles” along the edge of the dish, then continue to arrange them in smaller, concentric circles, moving towards the center of the dish. Cut half-sized “tiles” for the center of the rose. Layer in the candied orange peel and sliced almonds. Scatter the sugared cherries evenly over the bread.

Pour the cream mixture over the bread and cherries, ensuring all the bread is soaked. Press down lightly with a spatula to make sure all the bread is in contact with the liquid. Let it sit for about 10–15 minutes so the bread can absorb the custard mixture.

Cover the baking dish with foil and place it into a larger pan. Pour hot water into the larger pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the pie dish to create a water bath.

Bake the pudding for 50–60 minutes, or until the custard is set.

Remove the foil and bake for another 15–20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. A knife inserted into the center should come out clean.

Serve warm.