When something new appears at Cream Pan Bakery in Tustin, we give it a try. Nothing against old favorites, like the Gruyère-filled cheese boule I wrote about previously in ToOC, but when a new, egg-rich, brioche-like raisin bread appeared, sliced to a median point between the familiar sandwich thin and toast thick gauges of their other breads, upon first sight there was no question it was going home with us.
I am told it made, to no one’s surprise, superb toast.
Yesterday, however, a few slices remained, and I couldn’t help speculating for maybe the eightieth time just how it’d do in bread pudding. Talk about begging the question! Yes, it did very well indeed.
(Adding the recipe. Feel free to use part cream with the milk, or in the other direction, nonfat milk.)
Foregone Bread Pudding
(6 to 8 servings)
4 thick slices few-days-old bread, about 10 ounces total, cut into cubes
(if it’s raisin bread, so much the better)
2-1/2 cups whole milk, heated just to boiling, heat turned off
½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
Big pinch of salt
Few grinds of fresh nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Butter a 1-quart baking dish, and prepare a larger pan for water bath.
Whisk well eggs, sugar, salt, and spices. Add about a quarter of the hot milk while whisking to temper the mixture, mix thoroughly, add rest of milk, mix.
Pour custard mixture over bread cubes in baking dish, pressing them to submerge.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring teakettle full of water to boil, turn off heat.
Set pan with egg mixture aside for 30 minutes or an hour, occasionally resubmerging bread cubes if necessary.
When ready to bake, place water bath pan on oven rack, and put baking inside it. Carefully pour hot water into water bath pan around baking dish to a depth of about an inch.
Bake about an hour, until top looks dry and a knife stuck in the center comes out clean.
Serve warm or cold.