Leaving no Leftovers Behind: Baguette Bread Pudding

DSCN6787 Happy New Year everyone! I had the pleasure to greet 2013 all the way from Milan, and now I am lounging around in Nimes, a sleepy little city in the heart of Southern France. Life here is A LOT slower than back home. Can you believe that on Sundays not a soul stirs outside on the streets? This laid back lifestyle has given me plenty of time to sleep and make bread pudding, something that appeared to be highly convenient when my father brought home two SALT-FREE baguettes from the grocery store! Yuck! Who knew that such aDSCN6781
nasty bread could possibly exist? Needless to say, I knew that the bland bread would work well as a backdrop for a tasty bread pudding. Mixed with apples and golden raisins for bursts of tartness, almonds for nuttiness and then soaked in a custard embellished with cardamom and cinnamon to give warmth, this bread pudding hits the spot just about anytime life throws leftovers at you.

DSCN6794Recipe: Baguette Bread Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 French baguette (preferably a day or two old), cut into cubes
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large handful of golden raisins (sultanas)
  • 1 large handful of silvered almonds
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 200 grams fromage blanc
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • salted butter, for greasing the baking dish

MethodDSCN6785

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then grease an 8X8 inch baking dish with the melted, salted butter and add the bread cubes, apple, golden raisins, and almonds. Toss to mix. In another bowl, beat together the eggs with the milk, creme fraiche, sugar, ground cinnamon, and ground cardamom. Pour the custard over the bread mixture and allow the bread to soak up some of the custard, about 10 minutes. Then bake the pudding in the oven for about 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve warm with whipped creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream.

Cooking Notes:

  • Stale bread always works best for bread pudding because the drier the bread gets, the more custard it will absorb and the more deliciously infused the cubes will become.  Please don’t go buying fresh bread for this! The results will not be the same.
  • This pudding would possibly be even more delicious with some sort of egg bread such as brioche, challah, or Hawaiian bread.
  • Make sure you have enough custard to submerge the bread cubes completely. I had a tad less, leading to the tops of my bread pudding ending up a bit crunchy.
  • This isn’t a concise recipe because I made it up on the fly. Perhaps that is the beauty of bread pudding because you can put together any sort of day-old bread with a flavored custard base of your choice! Use this recipe as a template and have fun inventing up your own combinations!
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