by Lauren Mote
Bread pudding is so old school – it’s beyond rich, and beyond filling, but it’s sneaky. Before you realize you’re full, you’ve eaten three portions because it’s so delicious… and extremely comforting.
My recipe is partly attributed to my Nana, who up until recently was making bread pudding and trifle as separate courses during the Christmas feast, Myra Maston (she at the helm of pastry over at Chow Restaurant), and the brilliant recipe that Johnny uses at his restaurant – a tweaked version from the Culinary Institute of America’s Baking and Pastry Encyclopedia.
Recipe: There are many steps.
Soak 85g raisins in brandy or rum for 30 minutes.
Cube, coat with butter, and toast (400F) 255g of enriched bread, or whole grain raisin bread like I used.
Bring 960mL milk and 85g sugar to a simmer (should be hot).
6 eggs + 2 egg yolks should be mixed with another 85g sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla in separate bowl.
Temper eggs with hot milk – make sure not to curdle.
Strain through chinois into a big bowl.
Add bread to mixture, and make sure everything is completely soaked.
Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon, raisins (without liquor), and 1/2 tsp salt.
Transfer bowl to fridge, for 30 minutes.
Butter 9 small ramekins or mini loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare ramekins sitting in a deep pan (you will likely need 2) and have the kettle with tons of hot water on stand by.
Spoon mixture into ramekins, filling 3/4 only. Place on oven rack, then add your hot water.
After 30 minutes, check custard/bread. A knife or toothpick inserted inside the pudding for a few seconds, should be pressed against the lips to check the temperature. If it’s hot and comes out clean, they’re done. You can also check the tops for golden colour.
Remove ramekins, wipe bottoms, and transfer to fridge right away to prevent over cooking custard.
Cream together really well – 310g room temperature butter, 170g brown sugar, and 170 white sugar.
Add in 1 tbsp cinnamon, 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp vanilla.
Using a wooden spoon, just blend to combine – 510g flour – this should be a crumbly consistency not a dough, be mindful.
Whip 1.5 cups whipping cream with 1 tbsp sugar, 40 mL Brandy, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp vanilla.
Preheat to 400F. When ready to serve, remove puddings from ramekins, and cut into 3 oz pieces (squares). Place on baking sheet, drizzle “out of carton” whipping cream and brandy (just a splash literally). Top with a generous serving of the reserved streusel topping, and place in oven for about 15 minutes, or until the “knife trick” for checking temperature works, and the golden brown appears.
Serve immediately with a dollop of Brandy Cream.