Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bread Pudding "Cupcakes"

Bread Pudding "Cupcakes" - made March 16, 2012, recipe adapted from Cupcakes from the Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn (book #203)

A bit of a whackadoodle "bread pudding" when the custard doesn't go all the way to the bottom
Yes, that's right another bread pudding recipe.  I wanted to make another one because, let's be honest, I wanted an excuse to buy more challah.  But alas, when I went to Trader Joe's they were out of what I had bought before and only had a seeded version.  I didn't want sesame seeds in my bread pudding so I opted to go to a different Trader Joe's when I was in a different area the next day.  Only to be thwarted when I discovered this one didn't carry challah at all or else they were completely out.  I would've felt pathetic trying a third store for challah so I settled on buying a pack of brioche instead.  This one didn't look as tempting as the challah I had before so it was easy for me to let it sit, unmolested, on the counter to stale.

I did modify the recipe though as the original called for currants and brandy, neither of which I care for.  So I made it as a straight up bread pudding then added my own touch of cinnamon to give it a bit more flavor.  Unfortunately, while the addition of cinnamon was really good, this bread pudding didn't turn out as well as Dorie Greenspan's recipe.  I followed the directions as is but that meant the custard didn't soak down to the bottom of the "cupcake" so the bottom half was slightly dry bread while the top half was custard - you can see what I mean in the picture.  So I modified the directions below on what I think would work better so that the custard soaks all of the bread.  And the brioche I used?  Not as good as the challah.

5-6 ounces brioche or challah, cut into ¼” – ½” cubes
2 1/3 cups milk
2 large eggs
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1.     Lightly grease an 8-cup cupcake pan (each cup 2 ½ inches in diameter) with soft butter and divide the bread cubes evenly amongst the cupcake cups, filling only halfway full and reserving the rest of the bread cubes.
2.     Heat the milk over medium heat until it just comes to a boil.  While the milk is heating, beat the eggs in a medium-size bowl.  Whisk in the sugar until the mixture is lemon colored, 1 minute.  Add vanilla and ground cinnamon. When the milk is hot but not boiling, remove the pan from the heat.  Temper the egg mixture with ½ cup of the hot milk, whisking.  Gradually whisk the egg mixture back into the hot milk in the pan.  Place the pan back over medium heat and whisk the entire mixture until it begins to thicken, about 2 minutes more.  Remove the pan from the heat, stirring constantly for another minute.
3.     Pour the custard mixture over the bread in each cup, completely covering the bottom half of bread cubes. Let custard mixture soak into the bread 5-10 minutes, then place the rest of the bread cubes to fill the top half of each muffin tin.  Gradually add more custard until all custard mixture is gone.  Let stand another 10-15 minutes.
4.     Preheat the oven to 350⁰F.  Place the cupcake tin on a baking sheet and place in the oven.  Bake until the cupcakes rise up and the bread cubes are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and place on a rack to cool for 5 minutes.  The mixture will fall slightly.  Run a small spatula around the edges and lift up the cakes from the bottom.  Serve warm.

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