I have had a love/hate relationship with bread pudding for years now. I used to think I hated it because the ones I had tried were dry nasty overly sweet things with hardened raisins. But something about the idea of bread pudding continued to appeal to me so I kept looking for a good one. When I worked at a hotel many moons ago, the restaurant there had an awesome one. It was the stereotypical raisin filled kind but it was moist and not too sweet and smothered in a creamy caramel sauce. Eating that one over a decade ago sent me on a quest for good bread puddings.
For a while they were the “it” dessert. Not so much anymore. They were pushed out by cupcakes and now by the current trend, Macarons.But I still like creating new flavors every now and then. I had planned on making a white chocolate/cherry bread pudding until I realized that the 2 cans of cherries I was going to use expired in 2009. Erhmmmm… I might wanna check those things more often huh? So I decided on White Chocolate/ Apricot. This is moist, very rich and the Apricots, white chocolate and hint of Cinnamon go together very well. Warning- this is NOT cheap to make but on the up side, it is also easily cut in half if, unlike me, you’re not feeding teenage boys and one grown man (I don’t count my toddler since I am still mean to him about his intake of sweets ). You can serve this with or without the caramel sauce; it’s pretty darn tasty either way if I do say so myself Also, this gives the words “this is not diet food” a new meaning.
White Chocolate & Apricot Bread Pudding
- 1 1/2 1lb loaves Kings Hawaiian bread, bottom crust cut off and discarded (or eaten ) and the bread cubed
- 3 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup milk
- 5 large eggs
- 1 lb white chocolate
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 15 oz cans Apricots in heavy syrup, drained (but reserve 1/2 cup of the juice)
- 1/2 cup Apricot Preserves
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a medium bowl, mix your white chocolate and 1/2 cup of the heavy cream. Microwave on high in 30 second increments, stirring after each 30 seconds, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the five eggs. Add the remaining cream and one cup milk; beat until well mixed. Mix in the vanilla & almond extracts, 1/4 cup sugar, reserved syrup from the apricots, the apricots, the preserves, the cinnamon and the white chocolate mixture.
- Take your cubed bread and add it a handful at a time to the custard mixture, pushing down each handful into the custard before adding the next. When you have it all in there, make sure all the bread is covered and let it sit for an hour or so. This gives the bread time to soak up the custard, which makes a moister pudding.
- While it soaks, preheat your oven to 325 degrees F
- When ready, put the pudding mix into a well buttered 3 quart casserole dish (I use a rectangular pyrex; seems to cook it best) and cook until firm and golden brown about 70 minutes. You want to be able to stick a knife in the middle and not come out with liquid on it.
For the caramel sauce (If using)-
- Melt your butter in a small saucepan
- Add the brown sugar and stir until it’s blended.
- Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla and stir until well combined.
- Eat straight from the spoon or actually use it on the bread pudding. Your choice.