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Nancy Silverton's Bread Pudding

Makes one 12-inch oval bread pudding
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This is obviously not a simple cake like the others in this chapter, but it had to go in the book somewhere, and this seemed as good a place as any since, though not a cake, it is a simple (or at least homey) dessert. There are several steps involved, but none of them is technically challenging. I assume that bread pudding came about to use up leftover bread, but that’s not the case with this recipe, which calls for so much bread (3 pounds) that unless you own or work at a bread bakery, you are very unlikely to have it lying around. Unlike many bread puddings, which are mushy and one- dimensional, this one has a variety of textures and components. The most striking textural component comes from the bread itself. The loaves are cut in half and then the insides pulled out in large, irregularly shaped hunks.

This is not a “use any kind of bread” recipe. You must start with quality, crusty, country- style bread. It’s okay if the bread is day- old, if it’s soft enough that you can pull the insides out from the crust. The hunks are toasted in the oven until they’re golden brown and crisp, then tossed in butter and cinnamon-sugar, creating what are essentially cinnamon toast croutons. Because the hunks are torn in irregular shapes, they crisp up differently, and some protrude from the surface of the pudding and get crunchy. I added another layer of flavor to the pudding by putting caramel on the bottom of the dish.

You can eat this still warm from the oven, but I like it best chilled overnight and reheated the next day. This gives the caramel on the bottom a chance to thicken up. It’s important that you use a baking dish similar in size and volume to the one used here to give you the correct surface area, and thus the correct proportions of caramel to bread and custard. Look for plump, moist raisins, ideally from a farmers’ market. Because of the custard, this needs to be stored in the refrigerator.

Excerpt from The Cookie That Changed My Life by Nancy Silverton with Carolynn Carreño © 2023 by Nancy Silverton. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

For the Raisins and Caramel

  • 160

    grams or (1 cup) golden raisins


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