Make Ahead

Cranberry Bread Pudding with Pumpkin Spiced Creme Anglaise

November 11, 2010
Author Notes

I love bread puddings in all their forms, they are to me, the ultimate comfort dessert. For this dish, I took an elegant and rich white chocolate bread pudding, studded it with sweet-tart cranberries, and finished the whole thing with a creme anglaise made with pumpkin pie spices that just screams Thanksgiving. The combination would be a knock-out addition to any holiday spread. —Oui, Chef

  • Serves 12
  • for the bread pudding
  • 1 loaf, challah or brioche bread
  • 1 pound high quality white chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, or 1 tablespoon vanilla paste
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 7 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans, roughly chopped
  • for the pumpkin spiced creme anglaise
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split or 2 teaspoons vanilla paste
In This Recipe
  1. For the bread pudding: Preheat the oven to 325? degrees. Cut the bread into 1 inch cubes and place in a large mixing bowl. Toss in the chopped white chocolate, nuts and cranberries, and mix to distribute.
  2. Combine the milk, cream, and vanilla paste and bring to a boil over medium heat. Whisk the eggs in a medium sized bowl with the sugar until light ribbons form. Add hot milk mixture to eggs slowly, whisking constantly to temper. Strain custard over bread, chocolate, nuts and berries, and let stand for 10-15 minutes to allow custard to soak into the bread.
  3. Pour the mix into a buttered 9”X13” baking dish and place the baking dish in another, larger roasting pan. Pour hot water into larger pan to reach 1 inch up side of the baking dish. Bake the bread pudding for about 1 hour, until custard is set and the top is golden. Remove from the oven and lift the baking dish from the hot water bath, let cool on a rack.
  4. For the crème anglaise: Prepare a clean bowl set over an ice bath, and set it aside along with a fine mesh strainer.
  5. Whisk together sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, and egg yolks until light yellow and frothy. Set aside. Heat the half-and-half and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat until it begins to simmer.
  6. Whisk a small amount of half-and-half into the egg yolk mixture to temper, then whisk the remaining half-and-half into the egg yolk mixture. Pour the combined egg and half-and-half mixture back into the saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it just begins to simmer. Do not let the mixture boil. Gently cook until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. ??Remove from heat and strain though the fine mesh strainer into the bowl set over ice. Stir occasionally until cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
  7. Serve the bread pudding warm, drizzled with a few spoonfuls of the spiced creme anglaise.

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I am a father of five, who recently completed a two year professional hiatus during which I indulged my long held passion for cooking by moving to France to study the culinary arts and immerse myself in all things French. I earned “Le Grande Diplome” from Le Cordon Bleu, studied also at The Ritz Escoffier and Lenotre cooking schools, and completed the course offerings of the Bordeaux L’Ecole du Vin. About six months ago started "Oui, Chef", which is a food blog that exists as an extension of my efforts to teach my children a few things about cooking, and how our food choices over time effect not only our own health, but that of our local food communities and our planet at large. By sharing some of our cooking experiences through the blog, I hope to inspire other families to start spending more time together in the kitchen, cooking healthy meals as a family, passing on established familial food traditions, and perhaps starting some new ones.