- Course: Dessert
- Skill Level: Easy
- Cost: Inexpensive
- Favorited: 64 Times
Can be made ahead of time.
Originally a nursery pudding served to toddlers, or a plain dessert made with stale bread, custard bread pudding was revitalized by restaurant chefs about 20 years ago. It quickly became popular, especially when served with a rich butter sauce laced with whiskey. Drawing on the original, I favor a less firm, creamier custard version, and I like to add chopped bittersweet chocolate or fruit (blueberries or raspberries are favorites) in lieu of the more customary raisins. The Dodge clan serves the pudding a bit on the warm side (20 to 30 seconds in the microwave does the job nicely) doused with chocolate or blueberry sauce instead of the usual whiskey sauce.
For the Pudding:
1. Trim away the tough ends and bottom crust form the bread. Cut into slices ¾ inch (2cm) thick, and then in ¾-inch (2cm) cubes (don’t fuss too much with the size as they won’t all be uniform). Measure 5 cups (10 ounces/284 grams) of the cubes.
2. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of an 8-cup baking dish (I often use and 8-inch/20cm square Pyrex) and add the bread cubes in an even layer.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the whole eggs, egg yolks, brown sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt. Whisk until well blended. Pour in the half-and-half or cream and milk and whisk until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature, pressing down on the bread occasionally, until the bread is evenly soaked, 20 minutes to 1 hour.
4. Meanwhile, position the oven rack on the middle rung. Heat the oven to 350 degrees (180°C). have ready a large baking pan with 3-inch (7.75cm) sides.
5. Scatter the berries evenly on top of the pudding and gently press on them so that they are submerged but still slightly visible. Set the baking dish in the baking pan. Carefully fill the baking pan with hot water to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake until a small paring knife inserted near the center of the pudding comes out almost clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer the baking pan to a rack, carefully lift out the baking dish, and set on a rack to cool. Serve warm, or let cool completely, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Drizzle each serving with the chocolate or berry sauce, if desired.
For the Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce:
In a medium saucepan, combine the chocolate, cream, water, and salt. Set the pan over medium heat and heat, whisking constantly, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Slide the pan from the heat, add the butter, and whisk until melted and smooth. Serve immediately, or cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
For the Blueberry Sauce:
In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups (8 ounces/227 grams) of the blueberries, the brown sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt. Set the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until the berries are soft and the liquid is syrupy, about 3 minutes. Slide the pan from the heat, add the remaining 1 cup (4 ounces/113 grams) of berries, and gently press them against the side of the pan with the back of a spoon until lightly crushed. Serve immediately, or cool, over, and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.
• The pudding can be prepared through step 3 and refrigerated for up to 1 day before proceeding with the recipe.
• The pudding can be prepared through step 5 and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
Nutritional information includes the Blueberry Sauce.