Kris Kringle Bread Pudding
- 1 1/3 cups Brandy
- 12 ounces assorted dried fruits, such as peaches, apricots, and pears, cranberries, raisins
- 5 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 3/4 cup vanilla or granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise and scraped
- Zest of 1 orange
- 12 large egg yolks
- 2 large loaves day-old brioche, cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes (18 cups)
- Unsalted butter, room temperature, for parchment paper
1. In a medium saucepan, combine Brandy and dried fruits. Bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 8 minutes. The fruit should absorb all of the Brandy. Remove from heat. Coarsely chop; set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, combine heavy cream, half-and-half, sugar, cinnamon sticks, vanilla pod and seed scrapings, and orange zest. Bring just to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks. While whisking constantly, gradually ladle half the hot cream mixture into the yolks. Return to saucepan over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, and scraping the sides and edges of the pan until thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Strain through a large sieve into large bowl, discarding the cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, and orange zest.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place brioche cubes in a large bowl. Add dried fruit, reserving 1/2 cup. Pour custard over brioche cubes; toss to combine. Divide brioche cubes evenly between two 2-quart ovenproof bowls; the cubes will mound on top. Sprinkle reserved fruit over the top of each pudding. Sprinkle tops of puddings with sugar. Let stand until bread is saturated, about 20 minutes.
5. Brush two 12-by-12-inch pieces of parchment paper with butter. Place parchment paper, butter side down, over bread. Cover parchment with aluminum foil to seal. Place puddings in a large, deep roasting pan. Place in oven, and add enough boiling water to roasting pan to come 3 inches up sides of bowls. Bake for 1 hour. Uncover, and bake until set, 30 to 45 minutes more. Serve warm or at room temperature. Will keep refrigerated 3 days.
6. To reheat; preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place puddings in a deep roasting pan. Place in oven, and add enough water to roasting pan to come 3 inches up sides of bowls. Reheat until warm through, about 20 minutes.
Sour Lemon Sauce
Makes about 3 cups
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- Pinch of salt
- 2 1/2 cups hot water
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
- In the top of a double boiler, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add 2 1/2 cups hot water, and cook, stirring, until thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in butter, lemon juice, and zest. Continue to cook until smooth. Remove from heat, and bring to room temperature. May be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.