In the old days, bread puddings were an economy dish, simply made with stale bread and custard. But there’s nothing humble about this recipe. The golden pear topping flecked with raisins transforms it into a special dessert fit for company. Serve either warm or at room temperature.
- 6 slices whole wheat sandwich bread
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) butter, softened
- 4 eggs
- 2/3 cup (150 mL) granulated sugar, divided
- 2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla
- 2 cups (500 mL) hot low-fat milk
- 4 pears, peeled, cored and sliced
- ½ tsp (2 mL) freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/3 cup (75 mL) raisins
- ¼ cup (50 mL) sliced blanched almonds
- 8-cup (2 L) baking dish, sprayed
- Shallow roasting pan
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
1. Trim crusts from bread; butter one side of each bread slice. Cut into 4 triangles each; layer in prepared baking dish, overlapping the triangles.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, 1/3 cup (75 mL) of the sugar and vanilla. Whisk in hot milk in a stream, stirring constantly. Pour over bread.
3. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook the remaining sugar and 2 tbsp (25 mL) water, stirring occasionally, until mixture turns a deep caramel color. Immediately add pears and nutmeg (be careful of spatters). Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until pears are tender and sauce is smooth. Stir in raisins; spoon evenly over bread slices. Sprinkle almonds over top.
4. Place baking dish in roasting pan; add enough boiling water to reach halfway up sides of dish. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until custard is set in center. Remove from water bath; place on rack to cool.