The first, and arguably hardest, step to making this must-try casserole is to find leftover, day-old doughnuts. If you don’t know what a “leftover” or “day-old” doughnut is, it’s one that you had to hide from yourself in your car overnight in order to make this delicious doughnut casserole recipe. Granted, the good people at Top Pot call it Doughnut Bread Pudding, which is clearly a prettier name, but I think doughnut casserole says it all. Plus, when I told my husband I was making “doughnut casserole”, I’m pretty sure he thought he’d died and gone to heaven.
My husband and I made a stop by a local doughnut shop to pick up the four doughnuts called for in the recipe. Because we didn’t want to be forced to come back for more, we figured we’d pick up a few for us to share on the drive back to the house. We decided an even dozen would do it. The sugar rush began.
The next morning, I put six doughnuts in a zip-top bag to mark them as “For the Casserole”, as opposed to “For General Consumption”, which is usually how brownies vanish overnight in our house. My father-in-law arrived later that morning and, when I got home, I discovered five doughnuts remained. Luckily, the recipe only calls for four, so we were all set.
The great thing about doughnut casserole is that the hard work is already done for you– the doughnuts are made, so long as you choose the store-bought route. The cookbook has dozens of doughnut recipes, but this was a shortcut I was willing to take; get me to that casserole! The hardest part of the entire process was saving the doughnuts from their delicious demise for a whole day.
I chopped the doughnuts and topped them with a mix of milk, eggs, cream, dark rum(!), cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla, then baked the soppy mixture for about 50 minutes, when it was browned and set in the center.
Against my better judgement, I made the icing, an easy mixture of hot water, vanilla, and sugar, and drizzled it over the prepared bowls. Why? WHY? I topped glazed, rum-laden doughnuts with icing? What was I thinking? I blame the sugared air in the kitchen for that decision, as I’m sure the dish would’ve been sweet enough on its own but, truth be told, the icing was thin and delicious, the perfect topper to the dessert. I would, however, advise against adding ice cream, which would clearly cause you to stay awake for four days straight.
I served the dish to my husband and father-in-law, both of whom ate light servings of meatloaf and mashed potatoes (family favorites!) to prepare for the post-dinner feast that was to take place. After smelling the baked, sugary scent wafting from the kitchen, I could hardly blame them! Happy noises and full tummies ensued.
One of my favorite parts about this dish is that you can’t really tell it’s doughnuts, so you could easily dress it up or down as needed. the bakers suggest adding chocolate chips or raisins, if you like, but it was wonderful without those additions as well.
Maybe next time, I’ll break out the oil and try the starter ingredients from scratch!
Recipe courtesy of Mark and Michael Klebeck with Jess Thomson, Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts: Secrets and Recipes for the Home Baker, Chronicle Books (2011)