Take a bite of pure decadence with this bread pudding dessert recipe. The rich maple flavor is complimented by the crunchy walnut taste, while the raisins and currants provide a burst of tang making this the all around perfect dessert.
For Walnut Bread Pudding:
- 2/3 cup California walnuts
- 3 cups heavy (whipping) cream
- 1/4 cup chopped dried candy cap mushrooms*
- 1 egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 10 ounces (about two-thirds of a 1-pound loaf) brioche, crusts removed
- 2 tablespoons dried currants
- 2 tablespoons golden raisins
Maple Walnut Anglaise Sauce:
- 1/4 cup California walnuts
- 1 1/4 cups heavy (whipping) cream
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped dried candy cap mushrooms
- 6 tablespoons maple sugar*
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
*If maple sugar is hard to find, brown sugar may be substituted, though it will not have the subtle maple flavor.
For the Walnut Bread Pudding:
*Note: Candy cap mushrooms are available in some specialty markets and farmer’s markets. Though they can be omitted if you can’t find them, with their intense maple flavor and aroma, they are worth seeking out, and they impart a unique quality to this pudding.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast them, stirring once or twice, until they are well browned but not burned, about 8-10 minutes.
- Combine the cream, mushrooms and toasted walnuts in a saucepan. Bring the cream to a simmer, but do not boil, then set aside, off heat for 1 hour to infuse the cream with the mushroom and walnut flavors.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, brown sugar, granulated sugar and salt. Whisk in the cream mixture, then add the vanilla. Pour the mixture through a strainer--to remove the walnuts and mushrooms--into a clean bowl.
- Before assembling the bread pudding, have the oven preheated to 350°F, and butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Have ready a larger pan that will hold the 8-inch pan comfortably, and a pot of simmering water.
- Cut the brioche into bite-size cubes. Spread half the cubes in the buttered baking pan. Sprinkle with half the currants and raisins. Top with the remaining brioche and sprinkle with the remaining currants and raisins. Pour the strained custard over, then press down gently on the brioche, so it absorbs the custard. Cover the baking pan with foil and set it in the larger pan. Pour enough simmering water in the larger pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking pan.
- Place in the oven and bake about 25 minutes. Rotate the pan, turning it front-to-back, and bake about 20 minutes more. Remove the foil and bake about 10 minutes longer, until the custard is set and the top is very lightly browned. Cool before serving.
- Cover and refrigerate the pudding for storage. If you wish, it may be reheated in the oven before serving.
For Maple Walnut Anglaise Sauce:
- Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast them in a preheated 350°F oven, stirring once or twice, until well browned but not burned, 8 – 10 minutes.
- Combine the cream, milk, mushrooms and toasted walnuts in a saucepan. Heat until the milk is very hot but not boiling, then set aside off heat for 1 hour, to infuse the cream with the mushroom and walnut flavors.
- In a large bowl, combine the maple sugar, egg yolks and salt. Whisk vigorously for a minute or two, until quite thick and pale. Bring the cream infusion back to a simmer. Very slowly stir or whisk it into the egg yolks, adding it by dribbles at first to warm the yolks gently. Return everything to the saucepan.
- Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, to just below the boiling point. The mixture will become foamy, as it thickens slightly and you begin to see wisps of steam. Do not boil, or the egg yolks will “scramble.”