Woodstar Cafe’s Bread Pudding: A Filling, Sweet Treat Any Time of Day

The Daily Hampshire Gazette, November 18, 2016, by Lisa Spear

Editor’s note: In this monthly column writer Lisa Spear indulges her sweet tooth by sampling desserts made at area restaurants.

Let’s talk about bread pudding.

For me, the thought of it conjures up an image of soggy bread in a gelatinous substance. But, I discovered recently at the Woodstar Café on Masonic Street, Northampton, that is far from the truth. Bread pudding is more like a cake, with the consistency of French toast.

It’s typically made with stale bread, and depending on whether you are looking for a savory or a sweet variety, you can add almost any ingredient to flavor it.

You can make it with cheese and veggies, but eating a dessert bread pudding is more fun, which is what I did at Woodstar.

The dessert is typically made with a base of milk, eggs and sugar. Sometimes there are nuts and spices, or fruit mixed in.

Vanilla or cinnamon are often added.

The bread absorbs all the flavors producing a filling, soothing, comfort food to enjoy during the dreary winter days to come — or maybe to find solace in if you’re distressed over the recent presidential election results.

With its thick custardy consistency, it works any time of day.

I decided to have a slice for breakfast recently at Woodstar, where, day to day, you can find a different variety of its made-from-scratch versions.

The morning I was there pear ginger bread pudding was being offered. Its custard-base contained chopped up white and sourdough bread along with chunks of pears in the 2-inch high, golden brown slice I had. The baked bits of pear reminded me of the way apples are baked into pie.

A generous dollop of fresh whipped cream, made with milk from Mapleline Farm in Hadley, finishes every slice, with enough to add a light, sweet moisture to nearly every bite.

“It’s delicious. It’s hard to describe. It’s definitely a filling, hearty breakfast,” said Amber Patrick House, one of Woodstar’s bakers,

The café serves up a fresh batch of bread pudding every day and the flavors vary depending on the season.

Lately, with the local apple harvest in abundance, the bakers have been doing a lot of apple puddings. And with Thanksgiving just around the corner, the pumpkin also has been a big seller.

The dessert is made with all organic, non-GMO, ingredients and is as local as the café can get it, said House.

With a staff of about eight bakers, Woodstar never has a shortage of pastries and the café is generally known for its high quality baked goods, including vegan and gluten-free offerings such as the Death by Chocolate Cookie.

Another popular item is the croissant-style pastry. The blackberry cream cheese diamond is a favorite, as is the puffy almond croissant.

But if you do decide on the bread pudding, you might want to make sure you have some time to blissfully digest. Even budgeting a nap isn’t a bad idea.

Have you discovered a confection at a local eatery that makes you want to skip the main course? Email Lisa Spear at