Sweet Almond Bread Pudding with Raspberry Sauce

from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy
Makes 8 to 10 servings bread pudding

1 stale brioche (about 1 pound), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 quart heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
6 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup sliced blanched almonds
1 recipe Raspberry sauce

Before you start: Position a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Lightly butter a 2-quart baking dish.
1. Cut the brioche into 1-inch pieces. Lay them on a cookie sheet in an even layer and lightly toast them in the oven to dry, about 10 minutes.
2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the heavy cream with about half of the sugar, and heat to scalding, or until the cream is steaming and tiny bubbles have formed along the edges. Do not boil.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the rest of the sugar until smooth.
4. Temper the cream mixture into the egg yolks, pouring it little by little and whisking all the while. Stir in the vanilla and almond extract. Set aside and keep warm.
5. Place the toasted brioche in the prepared pan. Strain the custard over the bread and press down lightly with your hands so that all the bread is soaking. Let soak for 20 minutes.
6. Sprinkle the top of the bread pudding with the sugar and almonds.
7. Place the baking dish inside a roasting pan large enough to hold it. Fill the roasting pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until set. It will poof slightly when ready. Remove to a wire rack to cool to warm before serving.

Serve warm from the baking dish with the cold raspberry sauce. The bread pudding keeps tightly wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Warm before serving.

PRO TIP: When making bread puddings, dry bread is best. The less moisture or water that is present in the loaf, the more room there is for the custard to soak into. This results in a bread pudding that is creamy and custardy, not soggy.

Raspberry Sauce: Makes 2 cups sauce
Two 12-ounce packages frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed, or 2-1/2 dry pints fresh
3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice until it comes to a simmer. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool briefly.
2. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade or a blender, pulse the raspberry mixture until smooth. Strain the mixture into a resealable container and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Raspberry sauce will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 1 month. Shake well before serving.

NOT SO PRO TIP: Wanna cheat? Don’t feel like making raspberry sauce? Pick up an all-natural raspberry sorbet from the freezer section at your supermarket or grocery store. All you’ll have to do is let it melt for a great and easy raspberry sauce!

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