pretzel bread pudding with cardamom cajeta on FMITK.com

Pretzel Bread Pudding with Cardamom Cajeta (Goat Milk Caramel)

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You know how I feel about pretzels (case and points 1, 2 and 3). I’ve had this idea for a pretzel bread pudding swimming around in my fat little brain for a while, but it wasn’t until recently I figured out the sauce that was going to bring it all together – CAJETA!

Cajeta is similar to dulce de leche, but uses goat milk instead of cow’s milk. The goat milk adds a very subtle, tangy flavor, similar to what you taste in goat cheese.  You basically just simmer the milk until most of the water has evaporated and you’re left with a thick, sweet, caramelized milk. The process can take anywhere from 1 1/2 – 3 hours, depending on the type of milk you start with and the heat you’re simmering at. From start to end, my cateja took about 2 1/2 hours.

Totes worth it. Promise.

For the bread pudding, I used my favorite pretzel roll recipe along with a super basic custard base. I decided not to add any fruit or nuts, but you could easily add some raisins, dried cherries, pecans – whatever your foodie heart desires. By no means do you have to make pretzel rolls from scratch just to make bread pudding from scratch, but I’m crazy like that so that’s what I do. You can substitute store-bought pretzel rolls or regular soft pretzels, you’ll just need about 8-9 cups of it.

Pretzel bread from scratch is like the best thing ever, tho. So if you have time, do that.

There’s an optional step with the custard base for the bread pudding – infusing the milk and cream with the anise and cardamom. You can bypass this whole step and just use the vanilla paste/extract to flavor the custard. It will be just as delicious!

Let’s start with the cajeta, since she takes a while to get ready.

pretzel bread pudding with cardamom cajeta on FMITK.com

You’ll need goat milk, sugar, baking soda, a vanilla bean, cardamom and a cinnamon stick. Easy enough, right?

pretzel bread pudding with cardamom cajeta on FMITK.com

In a large pot / dutch oven, add milk…

pretzel bread pudding with cardamom cajeta on FMITK.com

…sugar, vanilla, cardamom and cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer.

pretzel bread pudding with cardamom cajeta on FMITK.com

Once the mixture comes to a simmer, remove from heat and add in the baking soda dissolved in water. The mixture will bubble up quite a bit. Stir until the bubbles subside and return to heat.
Side note: aren’t those vanilla beans pretty?

pretzel bread pudding with cardamom cajeta on FMITK.com

Time to hurry up and wait. This is the progress of color in 30 minute increments.

pretzel bread pudding with cardamom cajeta on FMITK.com

At 2 hours, my cajeta nicely coated the back of a spoon, but still wasn’t thick enough.

pretzel bread pudding with cardamom cajeta on FMITK.com

2 1/2 hours in, the cajeta sticking to the sides of the pot is just about the consistency I’m looking for.

pretzel bread pudding with cardamom cajeta on FMITK.com

Strain the mixture though a fine sieve to catch the vanilla bean, cinnamon stick and all the cardamom pods.
Obvi, one handed straining while picture taking is not my strong suit. Womp.

pretzel bread pudding with cardamom cajeta on FMITK.com

MMMM. Let the cajeta cool to room temp, then cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to use. Or motorboat the jar, I don’t care. Do you, boo.

pretzel bread pudding with cardamom cajeta on FMITK.com

Straight off the heat, it’s still pretty thin, but it will definitely thicken up as it cools off.

pretzel bread pudding with cardamom cajeta on FMITK.com

If you or a loved one didn’t completely finger down this pot after pouring out the caramel, we could never be friends in real life.

Bread pudding time!

pretzel bread pudding with cardamom cajeta on FMITK.com

You’ll need sugar, pretzel rolls, milk, cream, eggs, and vanilla paste or extract. Cardamom and star anise are optional, and that sea salt is just photobombing. Ignore that.

pretzel bread pudding with cardamom cajeta on FMITK.com

I made a batch of fresh pretzel rolls just for this recipe, but by all means, purchase pre-made ones. Or make them. I say make them.

pretzel bread pudding with cardamom cajeta on FMITK.com

Since my bread was super fresh, I threw it in the oven at 350F for 15 minutes to dry it out a bit. If you’re using day old or stale bread, you can skip this step.

pretzel bread pudding with cardamom cajeta on FMITK.com

Combine the cream, milk, sugar, beaten eggs and vanilla paste in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.

pretzel bread pudding with cardamom cajeta on FMITK.com

Pour the mixture over the pretzel bread pieces. Let sit for 30 minutes so bread can absorb the custard, pushing the bread down every few minutes to make sure the custard is evenly absorbed.
Bake at 350F for 45-60 minutes, checking every 5 minutes after the first 45.

pretzel bread pudding with cardamom cajeta on FMITK.com

ta-da! let rest for 15 minutes before cutting into it. Torture, I know. If you pick off a nugget of bread I won’t tell anyone.

pretzel bread pudding with cardamom cajeta on FMITK.com

I love the crunchy bits at the top, and the salty bits from the pretzel are my fave!

pretzel bread pudding with cardamom cajeta on FMITK.com

We could stop here, but remember all that cajeta? #turndownforwhat

pretzel bread pudding with cardamom cajeta on FMITK.com

Drizzle as much cajeta as your inner fat kid desires. You can see the consistency is much thicker now that it’s cooled.

pretzel bread pudding with cardamom cajeta on FMITK.com

This is my secret weapon – smoked sea salt. I love the way the smokiness plays off of the cajeta! All you need is a tiny sprinkle.

pretzel bread pudding with cardamom cajeta on FMITK.com

mmmmmmmmmmhmm.

Pretzel Bread Pudding with Cardamom Cajeta (Goat Milk Caramel)

makes 8-10 servings
cajeta: ~3hrs
bread pudding: ~1hr

Ingredients

for the cajeta

2 quarts goat’s milk
2 cups sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split
3 green cardamom pods, cracked
1 cinnamon stick (~2″)
1/2 tsp baking soda, dissolved in 1 tbsp water

for the bread pudding

8 pretzel rolls, torn into 1-inch pieces (~8-9 cups of bread)
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1/2 star anise pod (optional)
3 green cardamom pods, cracked (optional)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla paste or extract
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar

 

Directions

for the cajeta

In a large dutch oven (~6 quarts), combine the milk, sugar, vanilla bean, cracked cardamom pods and cinnamon stick,  and set over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the milk comes to a simmer and all of the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the dissolved baking soda. Depending on how acidic the goat milk is, the mixture will bubble up a lot. Once the bubbles subside, return the pot to the heat.

Adjust the heat to maintain the mixture at a brisk simmer  – too high a heat and the mixture will boil over; too low and it’ll be a long and seemingly endless process. I was using a Le Creuset dutch oven, which keeps the heat pretty evenly distributed, so I kept the heat right at medium for most of the cooking process. Cook, stirring regularly, until the mixture turns pale golden, about an 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

Once the mixture becomes the consistency of syrup and the color turns from yellow to caramel, begin to stir more frequently to prevent any milk from burning on the bottom of the pan.  Cajeta will thicken as it cools. To test the consistency, place a few drops of the cajeta on a cold plate – it should be the consistency of a thick caramel sauce.  Continue to cook if necessary. I cooked my cajeta for 2 1/2 hours total.

Pour the cajeta through a strainer set over a bowl or a wide-mouth storage jar. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. Cateja can be warmed just before serving by microwaving in 20 second increments until desired temperature.  Add a few drops of hot water if the consistency is too thick.

Keep tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to a month.


for the bread pudding

Tear the pretzel rolls into 1″ pieces. Set aside.

(Note: If you’re using super fresh bread, you can lightly toast the cubed bread for 15 minutes in a 350F oven. It’ll dry the bread out a bit and allow for more of the custard to be absorbed. If you’re using day-old / stale bread, you can skip this step.)

Optional delicious but totally unnecessary step: In a small saucepan, combine heavy cream and 1 cup of milk over medium heat. Add star anise and cracked cardamom pods.  Stir to combine, and heat mixture until it becomes steamy and barely starts to bubble. Remove from heat, cover, and let the spices steep in the milk for 30 minutes.  After steeping, strain mixture into a large bowl. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F and lightly butter a 9×13 inch casserole dish.

In the large bowl combine the cream, milk (if you infused your milk and cream, add the additional 1 cup of milk now), eggs,  sugar and vanilla paste or extract. Whisk to combine. Pour the mixture over the torn pretzel bread. Set aside for ~20 minutes, allowing the bread soak up the custard mixture. Press down the bread pieces every few minutes to ensure all pieces are absorbing the custard.

Bake at 350F for 45-60 minutes. A toothpick inserted should come out clean. If it’s still a bit jiggly after 45 minutes, bake longer, checking every 5 minutes. The pudding should be slightly puffed and browned. Serve hot, warm or room temperature, drizzled with cajeta. Garnish with a sprinkle with sea smoked salt.

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Pretzel Bread Pudding with Cardamom Cajeta
Pretzel Bread Pudding with Cardamom Cajeta
by
Pretzel Bread Pudding with Cardamom Cajeta (Goat Milk Caramel)

Prep Time:40 minutes

Cook Time:3 hours

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10 replies
  1. CC
    CC says:

    Hi! Just got turned onto your blog and started following you on twitter! This recipe looks amazing! What would you recommend as a sub if I am not a fan of goats milk? Could I use fat free milk or nut milk?

    Reply
    • holly
      holly says:

      Awww Carre!! Thank you for such kind words!! Shauna sent me a picture! it’s so time consuming but sooooo worth all of the steps!

      Reply

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  1. […] Pretzel-ified bread pudding with goat milk cajeta. Literally all words that conjure up delicious things in my mind all put together in one dish. I cannot even.   […]

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