Sunday, March 21, 2010

My first bread pudding

I woke up to yet another snow covered morning in Dallas on Sunday with plans to bake. Originally lemon squares were on the menu but after seeing the snow I decided to embark on my first bread pudding adventure-not to mention I'm reading a novel based in Queen Elizabeth's 16th century court which also mentions bread pudding, so I was already craving it.

Since I am so partial to chocolate I decided to go with a recipe I found in Jill O'Connors "Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey" cookbook called Banana Bread Pudding with Hot Fudge and Toasted Walnuts. You can bake this really with any topping you like, I have a recipe for Whisky-Walnut Caramel Sauce that would be great on this but since it was Sunday I couldn't get the Whisky so chocolate is the next best thing I suppose.

Serves 8 to 10

Pudding Ingredients:
  • 1 loaf Brioche (13 oz) Cut crosswise into 12 slices about 1 inch thick
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
Ganache Ingredients:
  • 8 ounces finely chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Put the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with a cold stick of butter until lightly coated.

Slice your Brioche and brush both sides with the melted butter. Mix together 1/2 cup of the sugar with the cinnamon. Sprinkle both sides of your buttered brioche with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Once coated cut your slices of bread in fours making rough one inch cubes. Place on a baking sheet, and toast in the oven until golden brown and crisp all over. Toss occasionally should take somewhere between 7-10 min. LET COOL COMPLETELY.

Once your bread is out of the oven start mixing the custard. In a large bowl (make sure it is big enough to hold the custard and the bread) whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, the last cup of sugar, and the vanilla. Slowly whisk in the cream and milk. Stir in the salt and mashed bananas. Once the brioche has cooled go ahead and add the cubes to the custard and stir carefully with a wooden spoon to make sure all the pieces are coated.

Pour the pudding mixture in the buttered dish. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge overnight or at least 4 hours to make sure the bread absorbs a good bit of the custard.

Time to bake! Once the pudding has done its time in the fridge, top the cold butter cubes all over the top. Sprinkle the last 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon-sugar. Cover the pan with tin foil and poke a few holes in the foil to allow steam to escape while baking. Bake for 20 min. Remove the tin foil and continue baking until it is puffed and golden and when your knife comes out clean, 20-25 min. Let cool for about 5 min cut the pudding into squares and drizzle each serving with the ganache and a sprinkle of toasted walnuts.

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Combine the cream, butter,and corn syrup in a saucepan. Stir over medium-high heat until the butter is melted and the corn syrup is combined with the cream. Bring to a boil. Just as it starts bubbling pour the hot cream over the chocolate. let stand for 1 min then stir until smooth and creamy.

Brioche croutons covered in cinnamon sugar mixture.

Poke holes in the foil to let the steam escape.

Chocolate ganache mixture, amazing!

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