Friday, September 3, 2010

Bread Pudding with Peaches

Back in February, I wrote about Maida's Apricot Bread Pudding, which I called the "Disappearing Bread Pudding". Well, score another winner for Most Rapidly Disappearing Dessert, right up there with the Boston Cream Pie. And by strange coincidence, Alicia and her family (or part of them, at least) were present for both events. Hmm...
The Apricot Bread Pudding, with all its dried fruit, was a really nice winter dish; this would be a perfect late-summer send-off for the last peaches and/or nectarines of the season. I didn't serve it as dessert, though--it was brunch. After all, it's just like peaches and French toast, right?
This is what was left in the pan about 15 minutes after it came out of the oven. You might say to yourself, "Hey, there are raisins in there! How did Maria ever get Alicia to eat raisins??" Well, they weren't raisins--at least not entirely. This was Trader Joe's Golden Berry Blend. It turns out that Alicia will eat any dried fruit that isn't a raisin.

And here's the pan after about 20 minutes. We had to roust Natalie from the shower to defend her last piece, and then Julia somehow convinced her to share that piece. Cousinly love.

Here's the recipe. It makes a great breakfast dish if you give yourself enough time for the 1 hour 15 minute baking time. I didn't, and we were all pretty darned hungry by the time we got to it. Perhaps that is part of the reason we fell upon it like a pack of wolves. Nah--it was really good.

Bread Pudding with Peaches

9-10 slices (about 8 oz.) white bread or challah, stale (leave it out on the counter for a couple of hours at least)
Softened butter
1/3 c. (1.6 oz.) golden raisins or other dried fruit that floats your boat
2 lbs. firm-ripe peaches or nectarines, peeled and sliced
1/2 c. (5 oz.) apricot jam (I forgot this and we put it on the finished product. Don't forget it.)
4 large eggs
1/2 c. (3.5 oz.) brown sugar
1/4 t. salt
1 c. milk
1 c. cream
3 T. rum (if you're channeling Maida, get out the Meyer's)
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. almond extract
1/3 c. (2.7 oz.) cream
1/3 c. (2.3 oz.) sugar

I recommend starting this the night before you want to eat it, or at least 5 hours in advance. Get out a 2-quart baking dish and butter it. Now take the bread and butter one side of each slice. Stack up the bread and cut into about 3 fingers per slice. Make a layer of bread and butter on the bottom of the baking dish, covering it completely. Sprinkle the bread with the raisins. Now layer on the peaches--I didn't make my slices thin enough and they didn't entirely cover the bread. Slice yours nice and thin. Heat up the jam in the microwave for about 30 seconds and pour it over the peaches. You don't have to strain it. Cover all that with another complete layer of bread. If you don't have enough bread, butter and cut another slice. Now get out a 4-cup measure and pour in the milk and cream. Whisk in the eggs, sugar, salt, rum, and vanilla and almond extracts. You could do this in a blender if you wanted to. Pour that slowly over the bread and peaches--give it time to soak in. Now cover the pan with waxed paper and press down. If possible, put a couple boxes of brown sugar or something on top of the waxed paper before you put the whole thing in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours.
When you're ready to bake, heat the oven to 325 and get out a baking dish that will hold your bread pudding dish plus some water. Get the bread pudding out of the fridge and remove the waxed paper. Then drizzle the 1/3 cup of cream over it (it probably won't sink in because the bread is saturated) and sprinkle on the 1/3 c. sugar. Put the bread pudding pan in the larger pan, put that all in the oven, and then very carefully pour some hot water into the larger pan. Bake for a very long 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a knife inserted comes out clean. If the pudding still isn't as golden brown as you'd like, you could put it under the broiler. I didn't see the point.
Serve hot and prepare to fight over the last piece.

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