Chocolate Pear Bread Pudding

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Pear bread pudding with a bittersweet chocolate base is the perfect easy fruit dessert. Layer a sliced challah loaf with thinly slice pears and a cinnamon custard for a delicious holiday dessert.

The baked pear bread pudding is in a white baking dish next to a blue napkin.

When you bake as many bread maker recipes as our family does, you need to get really creative in finding all the best bread recipes for using up every last slice!

Whether you make your own homemade challah or brioche or you decide to pick up a loaf at your local bakery, you will absolutely love how easy it is to turn it into a sweet pear bread pudding with cinnamon custard.

This simple fruit dessert has a sparkly sugar-coated crispy top that would be perfect for soaking up a simple dessert sauce drizzled over each serving. Be sure to check out my suggestions below!

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Why This is the Best Recipe

My husband has always loved bread pudding when he spots it on a restaurant menu. He and I both agree this is the best pear bread pudding recipe because:

  1. Chocolate and Pears: Have you ever tried this flavor combo? SO YUMMY.
  2. Crispy Topping: While many bread puddings can be a bit mushy, this dessert has amazing crispy edges because of the layering technique used to assemble it.
  3. Easy to Prep: Slice the pears and bread, the rest is just a quick whisk and pour. Even beginner bakers will have great success with this recipe.
  4. Make Ahead Friendly: You can assemble the bread pudding the day before and just bake it before serving or make it up to 2 days in advance and reheat it.

Ingredients

The ingredients to make the bread pudding are on the counter.

This easy fruit dessert only needs a few simple ingredients:

  • Fresh Pears: I used bartlett pears but a firm, ripe pear works great.
  • Challah Bread: To keep it easy, I picked up a braided challah at the grocery store but you could bake an easy bread machine challah loaf and it would be even easier to slice and turn into bread pudding.
  • Bittersweet Chocolate
  • Eggs
  • Whole Milk
  • Heavy Cream
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Table Salt
  • Softened butter for the baking dish

Prep the Pears and Challah Bread

Rub the softened butter all around the inside of an 8 x 11-inch baking dish. If you don't have a rectangle dish, use a 2qt baking dish.

Break the bittersweet chocolate into small chunks and sprinkle them over the bottom of the dish. I find this to be less mess than trying to chop it.

The photo collage shows how to prepare the ingredients.

Core the pears and then slice them into thin rings. Set aside.

Slice the bread into 1/2-inch thick slices.

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Assemble the Bread Pudding

Set up your assembly line with the pears, bread, and baking dish filled with chocolate.

You'll be layering the bread pudding upright. Start with a slice or two of the smallest pieces of bread and press them against one end of the baking dish.

Then stand up 2 - 3 slices of pear to create the next layer.

Continue to alternate bread slices and pear slices until the entire pan is filled.

The photo collage shows how to set up the assembly line and layer the sliced pears and bread.

For the larger parts of bread from the middle of the loaf, you may have to slice them in half on the diagonal to get them to fit properly.

Once you're done adding the layers, you can tuck extra pieces of pear or bread to fill in any large gaps in the baking dish.

All the ingredients should be nestled together quite snugly but not too tight.

It will look like this:

The photo shows the bread pudding from the side so you can see how the sliced bread and pears are tucked tightly into the baking dish.

Prepare the Custard

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, whole milk, heavy cream, brown sugar, cinnamon, and table salt.

Slowly drizzle the custard mixture over the bread pudding.

The mixing bowl has the custard whisked together and ready to pour over the pudding.

I placed my bread pudding on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any overflow. Since the pieces are so tightly fit together, some of the custard may run off the sides.

If you use a rimmed baking sheet, you can pour the overflow back onto the bread pudding.

Let the bread pudding soak up the custard for at least 5 minutes.

Baking Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Sprinkle the last tablespoon of sugar over the top of the pear bread pudding to give it a sparkly crispy appearance.

The sugar has been sprinkled over the top of the bread pudding just before baking.

Bake the dessert for 50 - 60 minutes or until the custard is set and the bread is golden brown.

Keep an eye on it as it bakes. You may want to loosely cover it with aluminum foil so it doesn't get too dark.

Make Ahead & Storage Tips

You can assemble the pear bread pudding and let it soak up the custard and keep it in the fridge overnight.

Then just bake it the next day.

You can also cool the baked bread pudding and store it in the fridge for up to 2 days. Let it come to room temperature before serving or gently reheat it in the oven loosely covered in foil so it doesn't over brown.

Serving Suggestions

The serving of pear bread pudding is on a white plate next to the baking dish of dessert.

This sweet chocolate pear bread pudding is absolutely delicious just on its own. It makes a cozy family dessert all fall long.

However, if you plan to bake it as a Thanksgiving dessert or Christmas dessert, you might want to consider adding a drizzle of dessert sauce to put it over the top!

My easy creme anglaise vanilla sauce would be a perfect option and my salted caramel sauce would complement both the chocolate and the pears.

For a festive twist, my sweet amaretto creamer would be perfect for Christmas and my deeply purple triple berry sauce would add a big of tartness for Thanksgiving.

More Fruit Desserts

If you love fruit desserts as much as I do, you wont want to miss these delicious recipes:

📖 Recipe

The baked pear bread pudding is in a white baking dish next to a blue napkin.

Chocolate Pear Bread Pudding

5 from 1 vote
This easy bread pudding features slices of soft brioche or challah layered with sliced fresh pears and a dash of bittersweet chocolate in a rich custard filling. Serve it warm with our favorite homemade caramel sauce for a delicious fall dessert.
TOTAL TIME 1 hour 15 minutes
PREP TIME 15 minutes
COOK TIME 1 hour
YIELD 8 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tbsp butter softened for the baking dish
  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate broken into pieces
  • 3 firm ripe pears We enjoyed Bartlett, about 1.5 pounds
  • 7 oz challah or brioche bread
  • 3 large eggs plus 3 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread a tablespoon of softened butter all over the inside of a 8x11-inch baking dish and set aside.
  • Break the chocolate into small pieces and sprinkle them evenly over the bottom of the dish.
  • Core and slice the pears into thin pieces, there's no need to peel them. Slice the bread into 1/2-inch thick slices.
  • Layer the slices of bread in the dish, alternating with 1 -2 pear slices. Make sure the dish is filled from end to end so it bakes evenly. You can gently tuck and crowd the sliced bread and pears into place as you go, fill in any gaps at the end with pears or bread as needed.
  • In a large bowl, gently whisk together the eggs and egg yolks, milk, cream, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pour the mixture evenly over the layered bread and pears and let the entire dish sit for 5 minutes so the bread can absorb some of the liquid. Sprinkle the top evenly with the remaining tablespoon of sugar to give the dish a nice sparkling crunch.
  • Bake for 60 minutes or until the custard is set and the top of the bread is golden brown. Let it cool slightly before slicing and serving so you can get neat pieces.
  • Serve the bread pudding warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

Storage Tips

The prepared bread pudding can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days. You can serve it at room temperature or gently reheat it in the oven covered in aluminum foil so it doesn't brown.
COURSEDessert
CUISINEAmerican

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The photo collage shows the baked pear bread pudding next to a photo showing the assembled layers of bread and sliced pears before it goes into the oven.

Editor's Note: This has been a family favorite recipe since 2011. I've recently updated the post to be more helpful with all new photography. Perhaps you recognize the original picture here:

A serving of bread pudding with sliced pears sits on a plate. A jar of salted caramel sauce sits in the background next to the pan of bread pudding.

4 Comments

  1. Pingback: Lasso the Moon Top 10 Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving with Kids - Gobble! Gobble!
  2. Pingback: Sea salt and vanilla caramel sauce » Peanut Blossom
  3. I laughed out loud at this comment:
    The girls and I have been surviving on a lot of frozen pizza, mac and cheese, and simple dinners. I find it so difficult to gather the energy to cook elaborate meals when he is gone since it seems like such a waste of food when we have the equivalent of 1.5 persons eating it.
    It hit so close to home for me with hubby off on long international trips. And yes, I feel like we eat like kings the minute he's home because someone is appreciating my hard work. Well said!

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