Blueberries are still in season on PEI as I write this posting. In fact, on the news last week, it was reported that there is an over-abundance of blueberries this year — is there such a thing as too many blueberries????
I love blueberries and, this year, we have been very fortunate in that the Murray family has a large field of U-pick high-bush blueberries in North Tryon, PEI.
Suffice it to say, I’ve had a steady diet of blueberries for the past several weeks from their U-pick where they grow several varieties.
I have also frozen a good many to have for winter use in my baking.
High bush blueberries are very easy and quick to pick.
Earlier I shared my recipe for blueberry muffins. Today, I am sharing my recipe for blueberry bread pudding, an old-fashioned comfort food. This pudding is so tasty, it is hard to believe it is made with little else but bread, milk, and eggs! But, with a bit of extra flavoring, yummy blueberries, and a Grand Marnier sauce, this makes one luscious, decadent dessert!
Some cube the bread, place it in a pan, and then pour the custard sauce over top. The method I use is different in that I tear up the bread into bite-size pieces, put it into a bowl, pour the milk over it and let it sit for about 15 minutes before hand-crushing the mixture. I find this technique makes for a smoother textured pudding.
I have baked bread pudding both in a water bath and without. I find baking it in the hot water bath makes for a more moist pudding and the edges don’t tend to dry out. To bake a pudding in a water bath, you will need two sizes of pans – one to bake the pudding in and another larger pan that will accommodate the pudding pan. Fill the exterior pan with enough hot water that it comes up to about 1/2 way on the pan which holds the pudding.
This is an easy pudding to make and does not take a lot of ingredients or complicated methods. It also freezes well so, if there happens to be leftovers, they can be stowed away for a later treat.
I like to serve a warm brown sugar sauce (or a variation thereof, such as Grand Marnier sauce) with this pudding. However, it would also be tasty with a dollop of lemon curd, crème fraiche, or ice cream.
Blueberry Bread Pudding
4 cups whole milk
1 – 1 pound loaf of soft French bread
⅔ cup sugar
½ tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp grated orange rind
½ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp melted butter
2 cups high-bush blueberries, fresh or frozen
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Grease or line 9”x13” pan with greased tin foil.
In large bowl, break the French bread into small pieces, crusts and all. Pour 4 cups of milk over the bread. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes then hand-crush mixture until well blended.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs well. Add the sugar and beat again.
Add the salt, vanilla, grated orange rind, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, and butter. Blend well.
Pour over bread-milk mixture and mix well.
Lastly, gently fold in the blueberries being careful not to break the berries.
Pour into prepared pan. Smooth batter evenly in pan. Place pan inside a larger pan. Place on oven rack in upper part of oven. Carefully pour hot water into the exterior pan until the water reaches about ½ way up the sides of the pudding pan.
Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until top of pudding is nicely tanned and it springs back to a light touch and a cake tester (or toothpick) inserted into 2-3 places in the pudding comes out clean.
Remove from oven and water bath and transfer pudding pan to a rack to rest for 20 minutes.
Slice into 12 pieces and serve warm with a brown sugar sauce (or my Grand Marnier sauce below), lemon curd, crème anglaise, or ice cream.
Yield: 12 servings
Grand Marnier Brown Sugar Sauce
1 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
dash of salt
2 cups boiling water
2 tbsp corn syrup
1½ tbsp Grand Marnier
2 tsp vanilla
¼ cup butter
In microwave safe bowl, mix the brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt together well. Add the boiling water, corn syrup, Grand Marnier, and vanilla together. Mix well. Add butter. Microwave until sauce boils and reaches desired consistency. Serve over blueberry bread pudding.
Yield: Apx. 2½ cups
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