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Friday, April 18, 2008

berry brioche bread pudding

bread pudding 2

When I suggested bread pudding for dessert, my boyfriend, who has never had it before, screwed up his nose and said "sounds disgusting." I had to explain that it's like having french toast for dessert to get him even slightly interested. This is a great recipe for bread pudding -- easy to make ahead, crunchy on the top and bottom, and the perfect contrast between the sweet brioche bread and the tart fresh berries. Top it off with a dollop of homemade whipped cream, and now I've got one more fan of bread pudding converted.

Grocery list: 1 pound pan of brioche rolls, raw/turbinado sugar, 2 cups whole milk, 2 cups half and half (the original recipe called for heavy cream, but I couldn't do it), 4 eggs, 4 egg yolks, vanilla extract, blueberries, raspberries, sugar, salt, whipping cream + powdered sugar.


Cut the brioche into 1/2 inch dice (I didn't know what brioche was before this recipe -- the picture above is a loaf of brioche rolls, removed from the tin pan they came in). Over medium-high heat, bring 2c half and half, 2c milk, 3/4 c granulated sugar and 1 tsp kosher salt to a simmer, then turn off the heat.

custard mix

In a very large bowl, whisk the eggs and the egg yolks together, then whisk in 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla. Continue whisking and slowly pour in the warm cream mixture. Fold in the brioche pieces. Let stand while you prep the pan and the berries.

mashed berries

To prep the pan, butter an 8 x 11 pyrex dish, then sprinkle turbinado sugar generously on the bottom. This is what makes the bottom of the pudding crunchy. In a bowl, coarsely mash 1 cup each blueberries and raspberries with 2 T of sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes so the sugar reacts with the berries to release more juices.

folding bread pudding

Fold the berries into the custard. Pour into the baking dish, and sprinkle more sugar across the top. The bread pudding will rise quite a bit while it bakes, so cover only loosely with foil. If the pudding is already near the top of the pan, you may want to put the baking dish over a separate pan in the oven to catch some of the juice if it overflows. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 20 minutes more, moving the pudding to the top third of the oven. Then broil the pudding for about 1-2 minutes until the top is golden brown. Let it stand on a rack for 20-30 minutes (or longer) until you're ready to serve it.

whipped cream

To make whipped cream, beat 3/4 cup whipping cream with a hand mixer. Add 4 T of powdered sugar, one at a time, while continuously mixing. After 1-2 minutes, the whipped cream will thicken to the right texture.

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