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Challah Bread Pudding
Alternative Ingredients are listed in Red
|Plain Panettone Cake*|
|Brioche Bread Loaf|
|4||cups||Half and Half|
|1||tbls||Pure Vanilla Extract|
|1||cup||Boiling Water (for Raisins)|
|2||tbls||Unsalted Butter (for the baking dish)|
|4||ea||Just Ripe Bananas|
|½||cup||Dark Brown Sugar|
|½||tbls||Pure Vanilla Extract|
Chop bread into approximately 1 inch squares and lay out on a sheet pan with wire rack an bake at 175º for about 2 hours to dry thoroughly.** Put bread in a VERY large bowl and set aside. (large enough to hold all the chopped bread, 8 cups of ingredients and room to mix without coating the kitchen)
Butter your 9x13 inch baking dish and set aside.
Pour one cup of boiling water over raisins and let soak for 30 minutes.
Place half-and-half and heavy cream in a sauce pan on medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture just comes to a boil. At the first sign of a boil immediately remove from heat and continue stirring for a minute while mixture cools slightly. Set aside.
In a medium size bowl whisk together egg yokes, sugar, salt, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Then begin to add cream mixture, very slowly at first, to egg mixture, whisking constantly. Once combined pour the mixture over the bread squares, folding the bread into the mixture to combine. Drain raisins and fold gently into bread/egg mixture. Let soak for 30 minutes, folding occasionally to insure all the bread is thoroughly soaked. (fold gingerly, do not stir - you do not want to smash or break up the bread cubes).
Preheat oven to 350°. With a slotted spoon transfer bread squares to buttered dish, with tongs or a spoon gently turn the top cubes of bread crust-side up. Pour remaining egg mixture over the top of each dish. (you want the bread flooded with custard)
Place dish into a pan of sufficient size to hold water half as deep as the dish. (such as a roasting pan) Place in oven, add water to roasting pan and bake until golden brown, about 50 minutes. Internal temperature should be 170º to 175º. The purpose of the water is to prevent the outside of the pudding from cooking before the middle has a chance to cook.
When done remove from water bath to a cooling rack.
Peel bananas and slice crossways into coins. Place in a pan over medium heat and combine rest of "topping" ingredients. Sautee lightly (they will be softened in the oven) coating thoroughly. Pour banana topping over top of pudding and spread evenly. When sufficiently cool, refrigerate for at least 6 hours to over night, before serving.
You can also top with whipped cream, caramel sauce or raspberry purée.
* If you use Panattone Cake you will not need the raisins.
** Stale bread is NOT old bread. When you let bread set out at room temperature, very little of the moisture actually evaporates. It seems dry, but the moisture has reacted with the protein and oxygen in the air to form crystals. So the water is still in the bread. If this is what you use for the pudding, it will come out very mushy, like baby food. With heat, the moisture evaporates faster than it can form crystals and therefor renders the bread truly dry, allowing the custard to take the place of the moisture in the bread.