Sunday, March 30, 2014

White Chocolate and Raspberry Bread Pudding

Kathleen and Jenna made these on the first night of Kathleen's spring break. DELISH! We felt they didn't really need the raspberry sauce, but you decide!

White Chocolate and Raspberry Bread Pudding

5 cups bread cubes, 1" pieces(We used day old French bread)
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
8 oz. white chocolate (divided)
1/2 pint of fresh raspberries
1 vanilla bean (optional)
1/2 tsp. clear vanilla
4 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups milk

Raspberry Sauce:
1/2 pint fresh raspberries
juice from one lemon
1/2 cup sugar

Prep. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the French bread into 1" cubes. Let them sit out for a while. The dried out bread will soak up the liquid better than really moist bread. Choose a muffin tin that has 6 of the "larger" size wells, rather than the "standard" size. (The ones I used accommodate about 3/4 cup each.) To each muffin well, I added some of the melted butter, divided equally. Chop half of the white chocolate into little pieces and add it to the bread cubes. Just mix it loosely to combine. Add the bread cubes and chocolate pieces to the wells, then set aside.

Make the batter. To a heavy saucepan, add the milk and sugar. Heat until the sugar is melted, but don't boil the milk. If you are using a vanilla bean, add the seeds now. To do this, split the bean lengthwise and scrape out the "caviar" with the edge of a knife. Add to the warm milk. If you want, just split and throw the whole thing in there. You can strain it out later. All those fragrant little vanilla bean specks are lovely in the batter! Also, add the clear vanilla now. Once the sugar is melted and the vanilla beans are dispersed, you can turn off the heat. Stir in half of the white chocolate until melted. Strain the hot milk mixture through a fine sieve if you threw the vanilla bean pieces in there. 

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. To the eggs, begin to add the warm milk mixture... SLOWLY... while whisking them furiously as you add the milk. In other words, you need to "temper" the eggs, or else you will end up with scrambled eggs! NOT good! Pour the egg and milk mixture over the bread cubes. You may need to push the bread cubes down into the mixture just to get them all immersed in the liquid. Allow them to sit for 10 - 15 minutes just so the bread can soak up all the batter. The warm batter will begin to melt all those chocolate pieces. Yum! Add a handful of raspberries to the top of each of the wells containing the bread pieces. Push them down into it if you want, or just let them rest on top. Your choice.

Bake. Set the muffin tin into a larger pan, and add water up to about halfway of the wells. We are creating a water bath. Bake the bread pudding, uncovered, about 40 - 45 minutes at 350 degrees F. It should have stopped being "jiggly" by now, and the top should be a nice golden brown. Don't overcook it, as you don't want it dried out.

Make the sauce. While the bread pudding is baking, make the raspberry sauce. I used the rest of the pint of raspberries. Add the raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice to a small saucepan. Heat until the berries have broken down and the sugar is melted. Mash up the raspberries - I used a potato masher. I wanted my sauce to be slightly chunky, but make it to your preference.  

Serve.  Served each bread pudding, still warm, with some of that warm raspberry sauce(optional)

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