Happy New Year! Can we please hold off on the new year’s resolutions to lose x number of pounds for a few more days and talk about this Strawberry Mascarpone Bread Pudding with Vanilla Bean Sauce? The flavor is reminiscent of strawberry shortcake with its sweet berry and vanilla flavors but in pudding form it’s denser, richer and more suitable to the season. And, the sauce is really a vanilla pudding in sauce form, really it's the perfect pudding marriage :)
Bread pudding has always been one of my favorite desserts, but I don’t make it often. I find it too addictive to have around the house, but I figure it’s ok to make once a year or so. Turns out I had the same idea for NYE 2011, I was looking back through the posts I didn’t move over from my original blog and found my recipe for Chocolate Whisky Bread Pudding. It’s super chocolate-y, boozy deliciousness and I’m reposting it here as an alternative if you’re not into the Strawberry Mascarpone version. It’s ok, I won’t judge. My boyfriend told me that while he loved the Strawberry he really wanted the Chocolate Whisky... just hope he doesn’t mind waiting til next year.
Strawberry Mascarpone Bread Pudding
8-oz mascarpone, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean
One large brioche loaf, cut into cubes and toasted
2 cups fresh strawberries, quartered
Preheat oven to 350 F and butter a 9×13-inch baking pan, or two smaller round baking dishes.
Using a paring knife, slice the vanilla bean down the center and scrape out the paste, set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer, beat the mascarpone and sugar and vanilla bean paste together until fluffy. Beat in eggs, mixing at medium speed until completely incorporated, then slowly blend in the milk. Add the brioche and strawberries and turn gently with a spatula to allow the brioche to soak up the liquid. Pour into prepared pan and smooth into an even layer.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until pudding springs back slightly when you touch the top and the edges begin to turn brown.
Vanilla Bean Sauce
1 vanilla bean
2 1/2 cups 2% milk, divided
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
Using a paring knife, slice the vanilla bean down the center and scrape out the paste into a small bowl.
Add the sugar to the bowl and stir with a fork to incorporate the vanilla throughout.
In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of the milk and the vanilla sugar. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Remove the vanilla bean and scrap out the seeds using a small knife. Put seeds back into the milk mixture.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, remaining 1/2 cup milk and salt. Whisking constantly, gradually pour in the hot milk mixture. Then pour everything back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring until the pudding just comes to a simmer. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes until it thickens slightly.
Remove from heat and let cool, the sauce will thicken a bit as it cools.
I based my bread pudding recipe on the recipe here.
Chocolate Whisky Bread Pudding
Serves 2, but can be doubled
half of a day old baguette
3/4 cup 2% milk
3/4 cup half and half
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup of chopped chocolate
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup whisky
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Slice half of a day old baguette into half-inch slices, and then slice them again lengthwise.
Then combine 3/4 cup 2% milk with 3/4 cup half and half in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 3/4 cup sugar and stir until it dissolves- cook until this comes to a boil, then remove from heat immediately and stir in 1/2 cup of chopped chocolate and stir until the chocolate melts into the mixture.
Beat one egg and 1 tsp vanilla in a separate bowl, once they are combined, slowly add them to the milk mixture. Once that’s combined, add the bread to soak in the mixture for about 10 minutes before transferring to a small, oven-safe casserole dish. Arrange the bread in the dish, sprinkle with demerra sugar and a couple tablespoons of whisky. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool before serving.