Custard Challah Bread Pudding

Custard Challah Bread Pudding

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Custard Challah Bread Pudding

This warm, fragrant pudding began as a way to use up leftover holiday bread, but it is so good that I usually buy an extra loaf of challah bread to make sure that I have enough to prepare this delicious dessert. 

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups Heavy Cream

2 Cups Whole Milk

1 Cup Unpitted Moist Prunes

1 Vanilla Bean

1 Cinnamon Stick (Crushed)

1 Small Loaf Challah Bread

1 1/2 Cups Pitted and Quartered Italian Prune Plums

1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

4 Large Eggs

4 Large Egg Yolks

1/2 Cup Sugar

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts

Butter For Greasing The Pan

Preheat your oven to 250° F.  You will first need to start the custard.  Slit open the prunes and remove the pits and set them aside. In a heavy saucepan, combine the pits, cream, milk, vanilla (scraped seeds along with the pod), and the crushed cinnamon stick.  Bring to a simmer over a low heat.  Remove the pan from the heat and let infuse for 40 minutes. 

Cut the bread into thick slices and arrange in a single layer one or two large baking sheets. Toast in the oven just until lightly colored, crisp and dry to the touch.  Turn off the oven.  When the bread is cool enough to handle, trim away and throw away the crusts.  Tear or cut the bread into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes.  This should come to about 8 cups.  Quarter the prunes and in a medium bowl, toss them with the plums, 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar, and the ground cinnamon.  To finish the custard, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, granulated sugar, remaining brown sugar, and kosher salt in a large-size bowl.  Whisk in the cooled cream mixture.  Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 13×9 inch glass baking dish.  Arrange the bread cubes in the prepared pan and tuck the prunes and plums among them.  Pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer evenly over the bread and fruit.  Cover the pan with foil and refrigerate for 2 hours, occasionally pressing the bread down into the custard. 

Preheat your oven to 350° F.  Remove the baking pan out of the fridge and take off the foil cover.  Bring the pudding to room temperature.  Prepare a hot-water bath; set the pan inside a larger baking pan, and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the pudding pan.  Place on a rack in the middle of the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the pudding is puffed and golden and the tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove the pan from the water bath and let the pudding cool slightly. 

Serve the pudding warm.  Reheat if necessary.  Top with whipped cream and chopped walnuts.  You can make this a day or two ahead of time if you wish.  Serves 8

 

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