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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
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- For the crème anglaise: Prepare a clean bowl set over an ice bath, and set it aside along with a fine mesh strainer.
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve the bread pudding warm, drizzled with a few spoonfuls of the spiced creme anglaise.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Non-Pie Thanksgiving Dessert