Make Ahead

Persimmon Walnut Bread Pudding

December 12, 2014
4.7 Stars
Author Notes

There is nothing not to love about this baked treat: bread pudding that is saturated and soft at its base, with the crunch of cooked sugar and toast at its top. The middle? It is filled with the zing of lemon zest, creamy mascarpone, and cooked fruit. Huzzah. —Melina Hammer

  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 8 to 12
  • For the bread:
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 cup mascarpone
  • 1 loaf challah, sliced 1/2-inch thick and toasted
  • 1 1/2 cups ripe persimmons, seeded and mashed (I used wild persimmons, but Fuyu make a fine substitute)
  • butter, for greasing the pan
  • demerara sugar, for sprinkling
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream, for serving
  • To pour over bread:
  • 1 cup whole milk (use grass-fed if possible), divided
  • 1/4 cup spiced rum, divided
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
In This Recipe
  1. Stir together zest and mascarpone and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all but 1/4 cup of the milk and 1/4 cup of the rum with the eggs, brown sugar, and spices. Whisk well to combine. Set aside.
  3. Slather mascarpone-zest mixture on each challah slice, followed by a smear of the mashed persimmon. You may find you have some mascarpone leftover. If so, save it for just before baking. Cut slices into halves.
  4. Grease a baking dish and scatter Demerara sugar over the surface. Stagger bread slices in pan, crusts tilted up.
  5. Pour milk-rum-egg mixture evenly over bread layers, then scatter walnuts all over. Allow the bread to soak in the liquid overnight.
  6. Heat oven to 350° F. Remove pan from fridge. Stir together remainder of milk and rum and gently pour onto bread faces (not the top crusts). If you have any leftover mascarpone, place little dabs around. (I had less than 2 tablespoons left and did it this way, and it was great.)
  7. Sprinkle Demerara sugar over bread layers and bake until top crusts are deeply golden and crispy, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  8. Whip cream into firm peaks and chill. When pudding is ready, allow to cool for ten minutes on a wire rack. Serve this spiced, heavenly treat warm, with dollops of cream. Makes for a decadent breakfast or a perfect dessert.

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  • Melina Hammer
    Melina Hammer
  • FP
When she's not writing, cooking, styling, and shooting her forthcoming cookbook - out Spring 2022 with Ten Speed Press - Melina makes food look its best for the New York Times, Eating Well, Edible, and other folks who are passionate about real food. She grows heirloom+native plants and forages wild foods at her Hudson Valley getaway, Catbird Cottage. There, Melina prepares curated menus to guests seeking community, amidst the robust flavors of the seasons.

2 Reviews

FP November 27, 2020
A hit at the dinner table. However I found the amount of liquid added just before putting in the oven to be excessive: though I only added half of the 1/4 c. rum and 1/4 c. milk I'd measured out, liquid still pooled in the bottom of the oven dish when I took out a serving. Also (and I say this as someone who likes the taste of alcohol in desserts) I think there's a bit too much rum, as it overpowers the other flavours.
Author Comment
Melina H. November 28, 2020
This is an old recipe - thank you for the feedback! I should test it again after all this time. Yes, the liquor quantity could probably be halved and still be ample. glad you made and loved it!