For most of us, when we hear Mardi Gras, we think of partying, parades, beads, and plenty of drinking. However, Mardi Gras is rooted in religion as a celebration beginning on or after Three Kings Day, the Christian feast of the Epiphany, and the name in French translates to“Fat Tuesday” and reflects the practice of indulging on rich, fatty foods the last night before the fasting for Lent begins.
While I’ve never been to Mardi Gras, I love the food of New Orleans and one dessert, in particular…BREAD PUDDING! Oddly, the first time I ever had bread pudding was in an Irish Pub in Nashville, and I was instantly hooked. As it turns out, bread pudding isn’t a dessert that’s necessarily Irish or Mexican or German or French or associated with any one culture. Creating food from what is already on hand is a concept shared by people around the world, and as it turns out, the world is full of creative cooks who know a thing or two about creating something from nothing.
The concept of bread pudding is miraculously simple…stale bread bathed in a sweet custard of eggs, sugar, and milk layered with fruit and or nuts, baked, and then, bathed in another sweet sauce of cream or chocolate or even whiskey. Bread pudding, as simple as it is, can be a blank canvas and open to so many interpretations.
My particular bread pudding recipe comes from days of dessert prepping for the 2014 World Food Championships where I would need to create a “New Orleans-themed” dessert in less than 2 hours. Ditching my love of whiskey and the traditional flavors of Irish bread pudding, I turned to chocolate…white chocolate…and raspberries. In one recipe attempt, I knew I had a gold mine. I sat on my bed and ate a whole bowl! Yes, it was that good.
3 c. whipping cream
1 c. milk
1/2 c. sugar
10 oz. white chocolate–chopped
2 whole eggs
7 egg yolks
24” Italian, Puerto Rican or Cuban Bread
2 pts. fresh raspberries
White Chocolate Sauce
16 oz. white chocolate chips
1 c. whipping cream
1 pint fresh raspberries
1/4 c. sugar
2 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP cornstarch
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat ramekins with non-stick cooking spray. Cut bread into 1/2 -1 inch cubes.
In a large sauce pan, combine cream, milk and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and whisk in white chocolate. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together eggs & egg yolks. Slowly pour cream mixture into eggs, whisking constantly to temper. Line ramekins with one layer of bread cubes. Top with 4-5 raspberries. Pour 1/8 c. custard over bread & raspberries. Top with another layer of bread cubes. Pour another 1/8 c. custard over bread. Using fingers, press bread to soak up custard. Add more custard as needed to soak bread.
**AFTERTHOUGHT…Use the remaining white chocolate sauce as the creamer in your favorite coffee. It’s AMAZING!!!!
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil, increase temperature to 375 degrees and bake another 10-15 minutes or until puffed and lightly brown. Remove from oven and cool.
Heat white chips and whipping cream over medium heat. Whisk until melted.
In a small pan, combine raspberries, cornstarch, sugar, lemon juice, and water. Cook over medium heat until raspberries have broken down and sauce thickens. Push sauce through a fine mesh colander to remove seeds.
Remove bread pudding from ramekin. Pour 1/8 c. sauce over bread pudding. Drizzle plate with raspberries sauce. Pipe a rosette of whipping cream on the side.
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- Bananas Foster by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Basic Bread Pudding by What Smells So Good?
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- Traditional Mardi Gras King Cake by Curious Cuisiniere
- White Chocolate-Raspberry Bread Pudding by Gourmet Everyday
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