White Chocolate Challah Bread Pudding from “Still Alice”

by Hilary Gauntt on June 21, 2015

This is the dessert that the title character in the book and movie forgot how to make on Christmas Eve. The author, Lisa Genova, has been making it for years and describes it as “rich, smooth, and luscious. I don’t care for white chocolate, and I’m not crazy for bread pudding, but somehow the combination is divine!”

Another reason for choosing this recipe for her story is that although Lisa makes it often, she sometimes forgets how many eggs? Was it one yolk only? Throughout the story the audience has to weigh what is a normal amount of forgetfulness, and what is Alzheimer’s.

The recipe comes originally from Todd English’s restaurant cookbook “The Figs Table”. I found it in a book called “Table of Contents” which is a collection of recipes that well known current authors have offered as either drawn from or inspired by their books. It is a true comfort food, and is our Father’s Day dessert.

7 large egg yolks

2 large eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 cups heavy cream

1 cup milk

1/2 cup sugar

10 ounces white chocolate (about 2 cups chopped)

4 cups challah cubes, approximately 1 1/2 inches square (about one loaf, crusts removed)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the egg yolks, eggs, and vanilla in a small bowl and mix to combine. Set aside.

Place the cream, milk and sugar in a 2 quart saucepan over medium high heat and cook until scalded (when bubbles begin to form around the edges and it begins to steam, but has not quite come to a boil), about 7 minutes.  Add the white chocolate and mix until fully melted. Gradually add the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream; whisking continuously.

Place the bread cubes in an 8″ by 8″ pan. Slowly pour the egg-cream mixture over the bread cubes. (If cubes bob to the top, pour more slowly to allow time for the mixture to soak into the bread.) Use your hands or the back of a spoon to press the cubes down and let rest for 15 minutes, or until the bread is fully saturated with the mixture.

Cover with aluminum foil and place in a larger pan filled halfway with very hot water. Transfer to the oven and bake until firm, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. After 30 minutes, check on the water level, and replenish water if necessary to keep the level at the half-way point. Serve warm with fresh berries, caramel sauce, or raspberry sauce. (see next recipe)

Raspberry Sauce

4 cups fresh or frozen raspberries, thawed

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

6 Tbs. sugar

Puree the raspberries, lemon juice and sugar in a blender and process until smooth. Pour the mixture into a strainer and press the solids through to strain the liquid. Discard the solids.

Add water to thin the sauce if necessary. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to one week.  Makes one cup.

Note: I thought this was fun to make! Do check out your pans before you get started; I was pouring my egg-cream mixture over the bread when I realized my 8″ by 8″ inch pan would never hold it all! My pan was only 1 1/2 inch deep and not the 2 inches called for…plus I had used all jumbo eggs. It was easy to just pour it all into a 7″ by 11″ pan and rearrange the bread cubes before continuing. Trader Joe’s had a lovely Challah loaf (a slightly sweet, dense bread). Instead of 3 cups cream and one cup milk, I just used a quart of half and half which seemed like just about the same thing. I made this the day before and refrigerated it overnight.  Served it warm with fresh raspberries . Appealed to both the Dads and the little boys!

bread pudding

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