Pear Bread Pudding with Maine Blueberry Caramel
I've been on a tear with savory bread puddings and savory flans lately (Tomato Bread Pudding, Tomato Flan, Roasted Tomato Bread Pudding), so all I have to do is shift gears, add some sugar and I'm in business...bread pudding is a form of custard, after all (since the basic recipe is eggs mixed with milk or cream, poured over bread pieces and baked until set) .
Okay, what's in the kitchen that we can make into a sweet bread pudding? Madi, my granddaughter, was just here, so some leftovers of her favorite fruits are still hanging around the refrigerator, waiting to be used or tossed: pears and fresh Maine blueberries (which are, by the way the Official State Berry of Maine -- talk about LOCAL!). So, I guess I know what to do: pear bread pudding with blueberry caramel sauce...topped with vanilla ice cream, of course.
Makes 4 servings.
Pear Bread Pudding
1/2 loaf day-old country French bread
1 C milk
1/2 C sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cognac
2 medium pears, peeled, poached, cooled, cored, chopped
Cut bread into sticks 1/4" x 1/4" x approx 1-1/2". If possible, cut so that each piece retains some crust on one end.
Stand bread sticks loosely in 4 buttered ramekins, crust ends up. There may be bread left over.
Beat eggs quickly with a fork and mix with milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, cognac and pears.
Spoon mixture into ramekins. Let puddings rest for 30 - 40 minutes.
Bake about 45 minutes in preheated 350º oven in boiling water bath to cover bottom half of ramekins. Tester should come out more-or-less dry.
Allow to cool 20 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge and then unmold. Serve immediately, with blueberry caramel sauce (below) and vanilla ice cream.
Blueberry Caramel Sauce
6 T sugar
2 T water
1 C blueberries, preferably the smaller wild variety
2 T cognac
Simmer sugar and water, stirring occasionally, until golden (about 5 minutes).
Add blueberries and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes over medium low heat.
Stir in cognac, cook for another minute. Allow to cool a few minutes before serving.
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