Who can resist vanilla, get a double dose with this spring time dessert. Crusty bread baked in a vanilla custard combined with rhubarb and raspberry jam form an amazing custard bread pudding. Don’t stop there, add a vanilla creme anglaise to the top. It’s a show stopper.
Melt butter in a sauce pan. Add cream and milk and brown sugar. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the cream and add the split pod. Heat on low heat until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside until slightly cool, about 15 minutes.
In a second saucepan, combine 1 cup of water with raspberry preserves and cook over medium-high heat unit it simmers. Add chopped rhubarb, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the rhubarb is just starting to become tender Remove from heat and set aside. You don’t want the rhubarb to be mushy.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract and cloves. Remove the vanilla pods from the cream mixture and slowly whisk the milk mixture into the egg mixture.
Layer half of the bread pieces in the prepared baking dish. With a slotted spoon, scoop out rhubarb from the liquid and layer ⅔’s of it on the bread layer. Save the remaining rhubarb and liquid. Layer the remaining bread over the rhubarb. pour the milk-egg mixture over the bread. Press down gently to help the top layer absorb the liquids.
Set aside for 30 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the liquids. Layer the remaining rhubarb over the top.
Preheat oven to 350º. Place the baking dish inside a larger roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with enough water to reach half-way up the side of the baking dish. Bake for 1 hour, or until the pudding is set and golden brown.
RHUBARB TOPPING: While baking, simmer the reserved liquid over high heat until reduced, about 10 minutes. Serve over the pudding.
CREME ANGLAISE: In a saucepan combine milk and cream. Scape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the cream and add the pod. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar and gradually whisk the hot cream mixture into the eggs. Return the mixture to the stove and cook over Lowe heat until it starts to thicken, about 5 minutes.
Barbara's Notes + Tips
If the bread is fresh, cut it and place in a 250º oven for a few minutes to dry out.
Be careful adding the hot liquid to eggs, add it very slowly whisking the whole time.
You can use fresh or frozen rhubarb.
You can make the creme anglaise a day in advance and keep refrigerated. Let it warm to room temperature before serving.
Try using a serrated knife to cut the bread into pieces.