Monday, February 20, 2017

Black Cherry and Marzipan Bread Pudding

I really like bread pudding. Or at least, I do in theory, even though some recipes fall flat (like orange maple French toast casserole, a somewhat bland dish that called for twice as much syrup as it should have and in which the orange segments completely disintegrated). Luckily, the LCBO’s Food & Drink came through with this recipe for black cherry and marzipan bread pudding, published over the holidays. It was fantastic! A bit nerve-racking, though, because there’s really a lot of bread cubes and liquid to fit into a loaf pan, but it all worked out for the best. And the result was a moist bread pudding sturdy enough that it can be unmolded and sliced – it was delicious as part of an indulgent breakfast, but it could work for dessert as well. I just love the combination of almond and cherry, especially when the almond is in the form of marzipan!

Note that I’m giving you the amounts that worked for me below (including lactose-free substitutions). Also, I recommend putting the marzipan in the freezer for 30 minutes before starting on the recipe, it’ll be easier to grate that way. I used a big loaf of challah (though brioche would work too) and sliced it into roughly 1”-cubes.

¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
9 cups cubed day-old brioche or challah
½ cup good-quality black cherry jam (I used St-Dalfour)
3½ oz. (105 g) marzipan
1 can coconut milk, topped up to 2 ½ cups with lactose-free milk
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
½ tsp vanilla extract or paste
2 Tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp. coarse decorative white sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 °F.

Generously grease a 9½ x 4½-inch (24 x 11 cm) loaf pan. Line with a strip of parchment trimmed to the length of the pan (the ends don’t need to be covered), leaving ample overhang along sides to later become handles and aid in the removal of the loaf.

Arrange 3 cups of the bread cubes evenly over bottom of pan; using only half of the jam, spoon randomly in dollops over bread. Grate roughly one-third of the marzipan overtop. Arrange another 3 cups of the bread over, and once again top with half the jam and one-third of the marzipan. Finish with the final third of bread, then the final third of the marzipan. (I pressed everything down gently to make it fit into the pan.) Drizzle melted butter over the top.

In a large bowl, whisk together the milk mixture, eggs and egg yolks; stir in vanilla, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Gently pour over bread (really take your time here) and let stand for 20 minutes to allow bread to absorb custard mixture. Sprinkle decorative sugar overtop and bake for 40 minutes or until puffed and golden. Let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour (hot bread pudding will be too delicate to turn out) before removing from pan and slicing into pieces.

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