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Sweet Almond Bread Pudding with Blackberry Sauce


Sweet Almond Bread Pudding with Blackberry Sauce

At the weekend I like to pull out the stops a bit and make my husband a delicious dessert.  We only ever very rarely eat dessert the rest of the week.  If we do have anything at all it will be pots of yogurt or once in a blue moon a sneaky mini-magnum bar or a two finger kitkat.

This weekend I had some stale brioche bread that I wanted to use up and so I decided to make a small batch bread pudding, perfectly sized just for two.  Sweet Almond Bread Pudding.  And I made a sauce to serve with it as well, a blackberry sauce.  Two generous servings of decadent deliciousness.

 You can use any stale brioche that you might have in the house.  I had a stale poppyseed swirled brioche that I had gotten with my grocery order. It was so yummy, but inevitably we did not get it all used up. 

It was the perfect bread to use in this pudding.  Just rich enough. Not too sweet.  And the poppyseed swirl worked well with the other flavours.

You could use any stale bread really.  Stale croissants.  Stale biscuits.  Stale hot dog buns.  Stale baguettes.  All bread once it is stale is quite suitable for using in a bread pudding. 

The reason we use stale bread is because it will soak up the egg custard mixure more readily.  Fresh soft bread just doesn't have the ability to absorb liquids in quite the same way and you will have a soggy finish. Not good.

 As it is you will need to dry/toast the bread in a slow oven for ten minutes to dry it out even more. You don't want it crisp, but you do want it quite dry. 

Dry enough to be able to absorb all of that rich custard and trust me, this is one mega-rich custard, but not at all in a bad way . . .  but in a very good way indeed!  It is simply sugar, egg yolks and heavy/double cream!


Rich and decadent and flavoured with both pure vanilla and almond extracts. Simple flavours, with astonishing results.  I could eat that custard with a spoon.

The cream is heated first with half of the sugar.  You don't want it to boil. You just heat it until it begins to steam and bubbles show up all around the edges. Boiling might curdle it.  

Let cool just a bit and then whisk it into two large free range egg yolks which you have beaten together with the remaining sugar and the flavourings.


You have to do this a little bit at a time or else you will cook the eggs, which is something you really don't want to do.  I start by drizzling it in just a tiny bit at a time until I have about half the cream whisked in.

At that point it is safe to whisk in the remainder of the cream/sugar mixture.  That completes the custard. Oh but it does smell delicious and we are really only just beginning!!

Sweet Almond Bread Pudding with Blackberry Sauce

You want to divide your dry bread cubes between two well buttered ramekins. I used two Le Creuset ramekins that I got a few years back.  Each one holds a generous cup full of liquid.

The custard is then divided between the two ramekins. You must press the bread down into the custard until it is covered, then you play a bit of a waiting game while the bread absorbs that rich custard.



The puddings are  baked in a Bain Marie, which is a fancy name for a water bath. You put them into a baking dish and then fill it halfway full with boiling water.  This helps to keep the puddings moist and helps them to bake properly without drying out too much. You want them a bit jiggly.

I do have to laugh when I think back to when I first started cooking.  I have always had a great interest in food and cooking and recipes.  I was watching cooking shows when I was still a teenager and at school.

My mother went back to work when my brother started school.  She had housekeepers for about a year, but they didn't really work out.  After that I was old enough that I became the one in charge of the house while my parents were both at work. I was twelve. 

I had some household chores to do, my younger siblings to watch and supper to get started. Mostly I was just reheating what my mother had already prepared but every once in a while I got to actually cook. Especially once I had started Home Economics classes at school and knew a little bit about what I was doing. 

Sweet Almond Bread Pudding with Blackberry Sauce

I slowly through the years gained skills and knowlege.  Some gleaned from friends and much from watching television and reading magazines.  I thought I was quite capable back then, and perhaps I was to a degree, but I would have had a puzzled look on my face had anyone asked me what a Bain Marie was! (Despite how much I thought I knew!) 

It was really not much at all in comparison to what I know now, and most of that I learnt by doing and growing and cooking.  Raising a large family taught me much, and of course I eventually went to Culinary College which taught me more.

In retrospect I should have gone to Culinary School out of high school instead of secretarial. My cooking skills have served me very well through the years, much more than my secretarial skills have done, with the exception of typing.

But back to the pudding. They are done when they are nicely puffed and just a bit jiggly. They will be golden brown on top, the nuts having toasted and the sugar nicely glazing the tops.


Sweet Almond Bread Pudding with Blackberry Sauce

While they are baking you can make your blackberry sauce. If you haven't got blackberries, feel free to substitute raspberries in their place.  They will be just as delicious.  Another name for the sauce is a berry coulis.

Its lovely, not too sweet, but slightly tart and coloured like a jewel.  I tried to be a bit fancy and spread some beneath the puddings in a pattern before I set the puddings on top.  That only lasted until I popped the puddings onto the pattern. Oh well . . . best laid plans and all that.

These puddings are best served warm with the cold blackberry sauce. You can make the puddings ahead of time, keeping them wrapped tightly for up to three days in the refrigerator. (This makes them perfect for celebratory dinners!)

Gently reheat to warm. (I would steam them for a few minutes in top of a double boiler.)  Serve warm with this fabulous blackberry coulis, these are puddings worth more than an ounce of applause!

Sweet Almond Bread Pudding with Blackberry Sauce

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Sweet Almond Bread Pudding with Blackberry Sauce
Yield: 2
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 15 Mcook time: 1 hourtotal time: 1 H & 15 M
Simple to make and yet outrageously delicious!

Ingredients:

For the pudding:
  • 4 ounces of stale Brioche, cut into 1 inch pieces (about 1 heaped cup)
  • 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
  • 6 TBS granulated sugar
  • 2 large free range egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
To top pudding:
  • 2 TBS flaked almonds
  • 1 tsp finely granulated sugar
For the blackberry sauce:
  • 2 cups (170g) of blackberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/3 cup (65g) sugar
  • 1 TBS fresh lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160*C/325*F/ gas mark 3.  Butter two (8 ounce)  glass baking ramekins really well. Set aside.
  2. Cut the bread into 1 inch cubes. Place onto a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove.
  3. Heat the cream with half of the sugar just until bubbles appear around the edges and it is steaming.  Do not allow to boil.  Keep warm.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar and extracts until smooth.  Slowly whisk in the warm cream mixture a little bit at a time to temper the eggs. Once the eggs have heated you can just whisk in the remainder of the cream.
  5. Divide the bread cubes between both ramekins. Strain half of the custard over each ramekin and lightly press down so that the bread is soaking. Leave to soak for 20 minutes.
  6. At the end of that time put the ramekins into a baking dish with sides, large enough to hold both of them. Sprinkle the top of each with 1 TBS of flaked almonds and half the sugar.
  7. Fill the baking dish to halfway up the sides of the ramekins with boiling water.
  8. Place into the oven and bake for one hour, or until the custard is set.
  9. While the puddings are baking make the sauce. Put the blackberries into a saucepan with the sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer. Leave to simmer for 2 minutes.  Blitz until smooth with an immersion blender. (or a regular blender)  Strain through a sieve.
  10. Unmold the warm puddings onto a dessert plate and drizzle some of the sauce over top. Refrigerate any leftovers.
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Sweet Almond Bread Pudding with Blackberry Sauce

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