Saturday, March 3, 2012

Ruthie's Bread & Butter Pudding - from Nora Ephron's 'I Remember Nothing'

When I finished reading Nora Ephron's book, the one thing that I wanted to do was to make that bread pudding. Ephron's love for her deceased friend Ruthie got eternalized when she added Ruthie's recipe into the book.

In the Mix
large eggs - 5
egg yolks  - 4
granulated sugar - 1 cup
salt - 1/4 tsp

whole milk - 1 quart (~960ml)
heavy whipped cream aka heavy cream - 2 cups
vanilla extract - 1 tsp

brioche bread - 12 half inch thick slices, crusts removed
butter - 1 stick or less, brought to room temp
confectioners sugar - 1/cup or as needed 

How To Do
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a flat baking pan (2 quarts) with shortening or butter. Need an extra baking pan larger than this to place it in a water bath while baking. I used my turkey roasting pan which was big enough.

Gently beat/whisk the eggs, egg yolks, granulated sugar and salt until thoroughly blended. You can use home baked brioche bread if you have any. Butter one side of the bread slices and set aside.

Scald all the milk and 1 cup of heavy cream in a saucepan over high heat. Do not boil. When you tip the pan and it makes a sizzling noise, remove from heat.Add in the vanilla extract. Stir this gently into the egg mixture without beating until blended.

Overlap the bread, butter side up in the greased baking pan and pour the prepared mix over it. Not all pieces need to be submerged I guess but do make sure those pieces get poured over with some of the liquid. Set in the larger pan and add hot water to come halfway up the side of the baking dish. Bake for about 45 minutes or a sharp knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. The bread should be golden and the pudding puffed up. Can be done earlier in the day.

Before serving, sprinkle with confectioner's sugar and place under a broiler for a minute or so. Or use a crème brûlée torch to brown the sugar. Serve with heavy cream. I did not brown the confectioner’s sugar and it was still yum. Adding heavy cream is optional as the dish is loaded enough!

I loved it even more after refrigerating for a few hours. Do any browning before you refrigerate. If you can imagine our household (mainly the mom and dad) forgoing dinner and walking more than usual just to enjoy a measly joint of this heavenly dish, then you know how good it is! I have a nice crème brûlée recipe from the net that I make but this is way easier and as tasty!! I had meant to take it to the office for our group meeting but just couldn’t do it in the end. Why not have a fun whole week where everyday is filled with the anticipation of devouring a piece of this dessert and achieve Nirvana instead of giving it away? Not generous I know. So sue me:-))