I thought tonight would be a relaxing one. Ray was at a work function so I got to leisurely, roam the aisles of Whole Foods and decide what unusual ingredient to use in a dish. Ooo, maybe a nice, warm curry dish. Yum. My culinary high came to end when I received a phone call from Ray telling me that his company is having a potluck lunch tomorrow and he needs to bring a dish. Calm and collected I ask what he signed up to bring. He simply stated, “I didn’t. We can bring anything.” What kind of evil planning is this?! My mind races through all the dishes that can be made and reheated in a microwave. My composed shopping turned into an episode of Supermarket Sweep or Top Chef where they only have 20 minutes to shop. In lap 5 of the bakery section, I noticed French Brioche Bread and then it hit me – Brioche bread pudding with dried cranberries. I can make Ray a dish and share on Kitchen Mischief at the same time – SCORE!
After consulting several recipes, I combined a few to come up with the one below. The one change I made was I decided to use a large soufflé dish rather than the called for 13x9x2 glass dish (it would never fit into a microwave). Looking back, I didn’t know that the actual dish would lead to my recipe’s demise. Diary, this is how I made it.
Brioche Bread Pudding with Dried Cranberries
1 1lb Brioche, cut into ½ inch cubes
8 large eggs
2 cups cream
2 cups whole milk
1 ½ cups of sugar
¼ cup Grand Marnier
1 tablespoon vanilla
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon orange zest (1 medium orange)
1 cup cranberries
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
I liberally buttered the bottom and sides of the baking dish and sprinkle the bottom with 1 tablespoon of turbinado sugar. Then I combined eggs, cream, milk, sugar, Grand Marnier, vanilla, almond extract, orange zest and half of the cranberries in a large bowl and whisked to combine. For the final step, I added a third of the bread cubes to the dish and added a 1/3 of the remaining cranberries. I continued to layer a 1/3 of the bread and 1/3 of the cranberries until all had been added. I poured the egg mixture slowly over the bread. I even made sure the bread was fully covered. I let it sit 30 minutes to soak it all in. To bake, I pre-heated the oven to 350 degrees, sprinkle with the remaining turbinado sugar, covered the dish with foil. I baked it 40 minutes.
This is how the night went:
9:00 PM – 40 minutes was up. It should be somewhat firm so I need to uncover and cook for additional 20 minutes to let brown. Wait! It’s still gooey. 20 minutes longer.
9:20 PM – Should be done now, ready to uncover and brown. Wait! It’s still not done. 20 minutes longer.
9:40 PM – My Lord! What have I done?! Will this bread creature from hell ever get done?!
10:00 PM – I will uncover it. Maybe it needs to lose some moisture.
10:30 PM – For the love of all that’s good and holy! It’s growing!
11:00 PM – So tired, I don’t know how much longer I can take of this. It’s starting to brown but has grown another inch. I fear the worst – it will take over the oven soon. I hope my homeowner’s covers destruction by bread pudding.
11:30 PM – That’s it! It is coming out whether it likes it or not. Oh, wow! Looks pretty. I think it’s done. I’ll let it cool and put it in the refrigerator.
2:45 AM – I had to let the dog out so I checked on the bread creature. What happened?! It has collapsed! I have created my own sinkhole in the middle of my kitchen.
7:00 AM – It tastes amazing but looks like hell.
7:01 AM – Told Ray that he has to go buy Baby Bite cakes from Pastry Arts in Homewood.
So, Diary, what would I have done differently?
I probably would have used the 13x9x2 dish. More surface area would have made it cook faster. Also, I wouldn’t have made this in advance. I would serve this dish immediately after a 20 minute cool down and maybe with a yummy sauce.
Till next time,
P.S. – Diary, if Ray knows what’s good for him, he will bring me a few of those Baby Bites home for staying up to all hours making this dish for him. If not, I hope he likes Tuna Casserole for the next week. He says he is allergic to fish but we’ll just have to test that theory. 😉