Last year, while in Montreal, I stumbled upon a little patisserie. The floorspace of that mignon location was (my eyes are searching for an appropriate comparison as I write this), no bigger than a couple of my dining room table’s surface.
It was quite astounding, really, the rate at which baguettes, boules, pain au chocolats, croissants, and other viennoiseries were being popped from their invisible oven. While yes, the smell of flaky, buttery pastries was rich and openly seducing me, it seems that I have a soft spot for those who play it cool.
Half a dozen or so slices of a certain firm, cold bread pudding, which they called the diplomate, arranged on a glass stand under a glass dome, caught my attention. The anonymous advice “the more unappealing something appears, the more reason to try it; it’s not on the menu for no reason.” rang in the back of my ears.
I’m still working on attaining that moist firmness, that richness that’s delightful cold, and the delicate spice, but in the meantime, while I dream, I’d like to share here, a little recipe of a humble pudding.
Ingredients for the pannettone pudding:
1 panettone, cut into 1-inch cubes
6 free range eggs
1 cup raw sugar
300 ml heavy cream
300 ml milk
dash of cinnamon
1 tbsp spiced rum (whisky or brandy will do just fine)
1 tbsp softened butter, for greasing
To make the bread pudding, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, with the rack in the center of the oven. Spread the cubes out in a single layer on a large baking sheet and toast the cubes for 5 minutes, or until crisp golden. Let cool completely. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees F.
Meanwhile in a really large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, cream, milk, cinnamon and rum. Add the bread cubes and mix gently with hands to coat. Let the mixture stand and absorb the moisture while you grease a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Pour the bread mixture into the greased dish in an even thickness, pressing down gently to level it.
Bake for 40 minutes, raise the temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for another 10 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Cool completely before slicing. I recommend eating this the day after, letting it rest and set in the fridge overnight first tp let the flavours meld together.