Saturday, July 19, 2008

Berry-brioche bread pudding is crunchy and creamy

We’re celebrating summer with a variety of fresh and fruity bread puddings. Recipes are cropping up everywhere – in magazines, from friends, on TV shows and Internet sites, and on the pages of our vast collection of cookbooks. “You must be onto something,” a friend pointed out to me recently as she mentioned a recipe and photo of a scrumptious Berry Brioche Bread Pudding that was featured in the “Last Bite” section in the May 2008 issue of Food & Wine.

This recipe, created by pastry chef Karen DeMasco of New York City’s Craft restaurant, features sweet brioche soaked in custard. Her pudding also has a crunch on top and bottom, which she achieves by sprinkling the bottom of the baking dish with turbinado sugar.

Today as we passed by a farm where people were picking raspberries, we wanted to just jump out and join them. We hope they left some berries so we can fill up our baskets next week. And try this bread pudding.

(Active: 20 min: Total: 1 hr 40 min plus cooling)
8 servings

Unsalted butter, for greasing dish
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1-12 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups blueberries and raspberries, plus more for serving
One 1-pound loaf brioche, cut into 1/2-inch dice
Whipped cream for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8x11-inch baking dish and coat with turbinado sugar.
In large saucepan, bring cream, milk, 2/3 cup granulated sugar, and salt to a simmer over moderately high heat, then remove from heat.
In bowl, whisk whole eggs, egg yolks and vanilla. Gradually whisk in hot cream until blended. Strain custard through a fine strainer into a large bowl.
In small bowl, toss blueberries and raspberries with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Using a fork, coarsely mash berries. Let stand until juicy, about 5 minutes.
Mix brioche into custard. Fold in mashed berries. Transfer pudding to prepared baking dish and sprinkle top with remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes, until set in center. Remove foil and bake in top third of oven for 20 minutes longer, until golden brown.
Preheat broiler. Broil pudding for 1 minute, until golden brown. Transfer to rack and let stand for 30 minutes, until cooled slightly. Cut bread pudding into squares and serve with blueberries, raspberries, and whipped cream.
(Recipe from Food & Wine, May 2008; created by pastry chef Karen DeMasco of Craft, 43 E. 19th St., New York City. Photo by Antonis Achilleos.)

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