Recipe: Harvest's Warmed Brioche Bread Pudding

Bread pudding’s got its fans, sure, but it’s not for everyone. Except this one; Harvest’s Warmed Brioche Bread Pudding is beloved by all who taste it. Maybe it’s the perfect balance of brioche to custard or (more likely) the bourbon in the sauce. Whatever the reason, it’s the one item that never comes off Harvest’s famously seasonal menu – not in 12 years. “I’ve always felt that our customers would riot if we changed the recipe,” said chef and owner Stephen Gontram.

Warmed Brioche Bread Pudding
Courtesy of Harvest Seasonal Market Cuisine’s Stephen Gontram
12 servings

2 loaves brioche
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cups granulated sugar
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
½ vanilla bean
½ cinnamon stick
¼ tsp. nutmeg, freshly ground
3 egg yolks
3 whole eggs
Mint sprigs, for garnish
Powdered sugar, for garnish

For the sauce:
2 cups granulated sugar
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1 cup buttermilk
2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter
½ cup bourbon
½ cup dried currants

Whipped Cream
1 pint heavy cream
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

• Remove the outer crust from the brioche. Using a serrated knife, cut the loaves into 1-inch cubes; place the cubes into a large mixing bowl.

• In a saucepot, combine the milk, cream, 3/4 cup sugar, ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract, vanilla bean, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring the mixture to a boil and remove from the heat. 

• In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks. Slowly pour half the hot milk mixture into the eggs and whisk to incorporate. Add the remaining milk mixture and whisk together. 

• Let the custard cool slightly and then pour over the cubed brioche. Toss the ingredients together lightly and place in a greased 9-by-12-inch baking dish. Bake approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

• Make the sauce: In a saucepot, combine all the sauce ingredients except the bourbon and currants; bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the bourbon and currants, and set aside.

• Make the whipped cream: In a mixer, combine the heavy cream with the vanilla and sugar; whip until stiff. 

• To serve, cut the bread pudding into desired sized pieces and place in a dessert bowl. Top with bourbon-currant sauce and a dollop of whipped cream. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a dusting of powdered sugar.

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