Raspberry and Apple Brioche Bread Pudding

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Wondering what to do with your leftover loaf of crusty brioche bread? Well, look no further my friends. This is it!! Raspberry and Apple Brioche Bread Pudding. It’s a yummy title, but well worth it to describe the awesomeness of this bread pudding. To be completely honest with you, I am NOT, I repeat am NOT a fan of the orange raspberry combo. Yuck. This bread pudding changed my mind. Forever. And ever…I was told by a couple of relatively cool people that this bread pudding was “Top Chef worthy”. Clearly, a compliment. Totes magotes. Some other stuff about this bread pudding:

1. It is awesome
2. It will take some time [love] in the kitchen

This is the kind of dessert I would serve all year round. Yup. It’s versatile. For example, the original recipe called for rhubarb…Couldn’t find it. Sad face. But! Alas, apples have a similar-ish texture in that they take a little while to cook. I knew they could stand up to the same process in this recipe. But, let’s say you didn’t want to use apples, raspberry, or ginger? Well…you could use blueberry jam, lemon zest, and fresh berries. Or in the fall…how about a caramel sauce instead of jam with cinnamon and apples? Why not? Honestly, I think this recipe can be tweaked to allow for any combo you can come up with. The basic ratios of bread to filling are PERFECTION and the vanilla custard is the perfect canvas for any flavor profiles. Can you tell I realllly like this?

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Apples and Raspberry Sauce

1 cup seedless raspberry preserves
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1 tablespoon finely grated orange peel
2 1/2 pounds apples (about 5 medium) cut into 1/2-inch-wide pieces (8 to 9 cups)

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Whisk preserves and 1/2 cup water in heavy large skillet over medium heat until preserves dissolve. Add ginger and orange peel. Scatter apples evenly in skillet. Bring mixture to simmer over medium heat, occasionally stirring gently, until apples are slightly tender but still intact, about 10-15 minutes. Pour mixture into large sieve set over large saucepan. Let drain 15 minutes.

Vanilla Custard and Assembly

3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Butter (for dish)
8-12 (depending on size) 1/2-inch-thick slices brioche cut lengthwise in half
Lightly sweetened whipped cream
Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk sugar and eggs in large bowl. Place milk and cream in heavy medium saucepan. Add vanilla. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Gradually add hot cream mixture to egg mixture, whisking custard to blend.

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Butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch oval baking dish. Arrange enough bread slices in dish to cover bottom (some spaces will remain between slices). Spoon half of apples evenly over. Repeat with remaining bread and apples. Pour custard over. Place baking dish in roasting pan. Add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up sides of dish.

Bake pudding until just set in center, about 50 minutes. Remove from oven. Let stand in water bath 30 minutes; remove.

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Boil sauce from apples until reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Keep warm.
Brush top of pudding with reduced sauce. Spoon warm pudding into bowls; top with sauce and whipped cream.

Adapted from Bon Appétit, May 2010