At a cooking class I attended a few years ago, I learned something about bread pudding that completely changed my thinking about it. In that class, the bread pudding was made with corners of the bread intentionally sticking up out of the custard. That way, lots of edges became crispy while the lower parts of the bread absorbed the custard. It was the good mix of textures that I really liked, and now I always keep that in mind in making bread pudding. Here, the brioche loaf was sliced and the pieces were slightly toasted in the oven to dry them. Each piece was cut in half and then spread with blackberry jam. One layer of jam-coated bread slices was placed in the baking dish, and the sugar-macerated blackberries and juice were poured over the bread. The remaining bread was arranged on top, and a rich custard made with milk, cream, eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla was poured over all the bread. It was left to sit so the bread could soak in the custard for about half an hour before it was baked. For baking, the dish was placed in a roasting pan and both went into a 325 degree F oven. Boiling water was poured into the roasting pan to come half-way up the side of the baking dish, and the bread pudding baked for an hour and 25 minutes.
After it cooled for a bit, the pudding was easy to cut into wedges of custard-filled bread layered with jam and fruit. I served it with bourbon whipped cream and sliced peaches, and the crunchy tops and tender lower layers were delightful. Maybe I should start leaving notes for myself about what’s been shoved into the freezer. Or, maybe I just always need a really good plan like this one for what gets stored, and then I’ll surely make good on it.
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