The word “brioche” takes me right back to Sicily.
I just got back from my annual month-long trip to the beautiful island, and I missed it as soon as I set foot on the airplane.
One of the things I miss the most is having granita e briosce for breakfast, a kind of sorbet eaten with a soft brioche bun to start off the day. The other things I miss, well, just take a look at a few of the things I saw this summer and you’ll get an idea.
Now this bread pudding recipe has nothing to do with Sicily, except for the fact that it is made with a loaf of brioche and that it is incredibly delicious. The recipe comes from Ad Hoc at Home, by the great Thomas Keller of the French Laundry. My brother bought it for me as a surprise present, and this is the first thing I made from it.
It’s an intensely custardy and moist bread pudding perfumed with vanilla, topped with bananas and then given crispy edges in clarified butter immediately before serving. It looks like something that came out of a professional pastry chef’s kitchen, and it’s great for a decadent breakfast or dessert. Maybe next time I’ll add chocolate…
Adapted from Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller
Brioche Banana Bread Pudding
2 1/4 cups whole milk
2 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 loaf of brioche bread (Pullman)
1/2 cup clarified butter
In a large saucepan, combine the milk, cream, and 1/2 cup of the sugar and bring it to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Preheat the oven and cut the crusts off the whole loaf of brioche. Cut the loaf in half, then slice it into 1/2 inch slices lengthwise. You need about 8 slices. Toast the slices in the oven until they are golden brown.
Whisk the eggs in a large bowl, then whisk in the rest of the sugar. Whisk several ladles of the milk mixture into the eggs, then add the eggs back into the milk mixture, whisking the whole time so you don’t get scrambling. Let the whole thing cool completely.
Pour a little of the egg mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 in baking pan, then cover the bottom with slices of toasted brioche. Pour some more egg mixture on top of the slices to soak them through. Slice the bananas lengthwise and layer them on top of the brioche, then pour the rest of the egg mixture over the whole thing.
Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest for 20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Cover the baking dish with parchment paper then aluminum foil and bake in a water bath for 1 hour. (At this point you could serve it, but if you want it to be even more awesome, continue on with the last step!)
Refrigerate the cooked bread pudding for at least 6 hours, then slice it into squares. Fry the squares on all sides in the clarified butter until they are golden and crispy. Serve with some fresh fruit.