If you've ever struggled to actually put together something from IKEA then you will understand the need to celebrate afterwards.
In my case, I bought an 8 drawer dresser that resided in my living room for 3 weeks partially completed, becoming a permanent unfinished counter top until just last night. What on earth does this have to with bread pudding you must be wondering? Nothing. Except after my IKEA nightmare was finally assembled I wanted dessert and wine and I didn't want to brave the cold outdoors for either one.
So I whipped this up having never made it before with no real recipe and just a few ingredients. Which should go to show you how infallible it is. It was one of the most satisfying comfort desserts I've had in ages. A great no hassle dessert for winter dinner parties, family meals, or even IKEA put-it-together celebrations.
This bread pudding is simply a mixture of custard base with cubed white bread, pears, and spices. It's baked in a water bath for 30 minutes and browned on top for 20 minutes more with some sprinkled sugar for added texture and flavor. Hard to resist breaking through the sugary crusty top to the soft sweet spicy filling underneath.
serves 6 people
4-5 cups of bread cubed (country white, brioche, challah, whatever) I like the crusts on but you can remove them
3 cups cream (or whole milk if you must – see note at bottom)
1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder, or 1 vanilla bean scraped, or 1 T vanilla extract
1 large pear, diced
1/3 cup currants
Instructions Preheat oven to 350˚F. Scald cream with sugar, vanilla, and spices in a sauce pot. Whisk eggs together in a mixing bowl. Add scaled milk to eggs little by little whisking constantly until fully incorporated. Pour milk mixture over cubed bread and fold in currants and pears. Spoon bread mixture into ramekins up to the top and place into a 1 1/2-inch hot water bath. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove foil and increase the heat to 425˚F. Sprinkle extra sugar over the top if desired. Bake for another 20 minutes or until the puddings have puffed up and are nicely browned on top while moist but firm on the inside.
Cooks Notes: I tried this recipe the next day (to get the correct measurements) with milk because I ran out of cream and it worked just as well. Although it wasn't nearly as rich and decadent. It still forms a custard base but not quite as silky as with cream. Also, the bread pudding will not poof up until the last 20 minutes on the higher temperature with the foil removed. So be patient!