Stop what you’re doing right now and make this dessert.Got an excuse? Well, I’ve got a rebuttal. You’re at work? So what? That’s what sick time is for. You’re not hungry? What’s wrong with you? Get hungry! You made a New Year’s resolution!? Okay, I’m not knocking you or your willpower, but come on. You know you’ll crack in a week or so on something crappy like a Keebler cookie – no offense to those cute little elves.
If you’re going to fall off the wagon – which we all eventually will – fall hard and on something worthwhile. This dessert is so sinfully delicious it’ll make you wonder why you were ever on that godforsaken wagon in the first place. Wagons are no fun…and you deserve dessert.
Ordinary bread pudding starts with regular old white bread, but this one is extraordinary, so it doesn’t. We’re going to use a loaf of challah instead, which is sweet, eggy, and will give us a much better foundation of flavor upon which we can build our bread pudding.
The loaf above isn’t technically challah – but it’s similar and I baked it myself so I can personally attest to it’s awesomeness.
If you’re not entirely sure what to look for when you go to the grocery store – just explain what it is that you’re making and ask the person working the bakery counter for their recommendation. Then, bring home your fresh-bought loaf so you can cut it up into cubes.
It always breaks my heart a little bit to dice up such beautiful bread, but we need to do this in order to get our custard absorbed. Yeah, you heard me – we’re making custard.
Never made a custard? Think you can’t? Think again.
To create our custard mixture, you’ll need a couple eggs. When I say “a couple,” I actually mean eight. Crack ’em all into a big bowl and whisk away to break up the yolks and incorporate them into the whites.
Then, add in a
smidge cup of sugar and a little bit of salt to offset all that sweetness. A couple tablespoons of vanilla extract later, you’ll want to whisk in a little light cream…like, a quart.
What?! It’s light ;)
Cross your heart, hope to die and pour that big bowl of rich ‘n creamy custard over your bread. For the bread that ends up sticking out above the custard, use your whisk to push everything down to drown every crumb in the liquid deliciousness below. Show that bread who’s boss.
Hmmm…how can we rescue ourselves from an oblivion of overindulgence? Well, the best option available I’m aware of is to include a healthy food and make sure you highlight it in some way. It’s no mistake that “blueberry” is the first word in the title of this recipe.
I could have called it “Quart of Cream, Cup of Sugar Bread Pudding.”
White chocolate: not a super food in the same sense as blueberries, but super nonetheless. Whether you buy your chocolate in block or chip form, go for good quality because it’ll be much more decadent. You know, because this dessert wasn’t already decadent enough.
Last, but never least – we’re going to need kitchen glitter – aka raw sugar. Sprinkle some on top of your bread pudding and stand back to admire what you just made.
This thing’s a beaut and she’s not even been baked! Speaking of which…
You’re going to bake your bread pudding in a water bath. This method of cooking is gentle because the water can only get so hot before it boils – and if it does – it simply turns to steam. The remaining water, which remains below 212°, acts as a barrier to insulate what’s inside.
Sounds all scientific, but it couldn’t be any easier. All you’ll need is some hot water and a pan that’s slightly larger than the one you crammed your bread pudding into. Place the smaller pan inside the larger one and pour enough hot water between the two so that the liquid comes halfway up the side. Just be careful maneuvering these pans as they get heavy – I would advise adding the liquid only after everything’s nestled safely inside your oven. After baking, either allow your bread pudding to cool in the oven with the door open – or remove the hot water with a turkey baster if you’re in a hurry.
If you’re still unsure about whether or not you want to make this bread pudding, I beg you to look again at the picture above. Come on…you know you wanna.
Blueberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding
adapted from Keon’s Restaurant in Haverhill, MA
Serves: 16, if you share
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 55-65 minutes
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 quart light cream
6 oz. blueberries
6 oz. white chocolate (chips or shaved off a block)
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 loaf of challah bread (or any similar sweet bread)
Preheat oven to 325°.
Cut challah bread into cubes or tear into pieces for a more rustic look. Grease a 9×13-inch pan and fill with your challah bread.
Crack all eight eggs into a big bowl and whisk to break the yolks and incorporate with the whites. Add the granulated sugar, vanilla, salt and cream to your eggs. Whisk well to ensure that everything ends up evenly distributed. Pour this mixture over your bread, pushing any dry pieces down so that they can absorb some of the custard.
Sprinkle top with white chocolate chips, blueberries and raw sugar.
To bake, you’re going to create a water bath so that the bread pudding can bake gently. To do this, boil some water in a kettle. Then, simply place your 9×13-inch pan within another that is slightly larger. Carefully pour the hot water directly from your tea kettle to fill the perimeter created by the larger pan so that the liquid comes roughly half-way up the side.
Note: it’s best to build a water bath with both pans already in the oven since they end up fairly heavy. It’s also easiest to allow the bread pudding to cool in the oven with the door open once it’s done baking, but if you must remove it immediately, do so with care and remove some water first with a baster to avoid spillage.
Bake your bread pudding for 55-65 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm with fresh whipped cream, vanilla bean ice cream…or both :)
Gooey white chocolate, bright bursts of blueberries and sweet, sweet bread? Sign me up.
If I were you, I’d be doing a little less reading and a whole lot more bread pudding making right about now :)