For the Bread Pudding (6-8 servings)
- 1/2 tablespoon (7 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 brioche slices, cut 1-inch (2.5 centimeters) thick
- 8 large eggs
- 1 cup (225 grams) sugar
- 4 cups (1 quart) whole milk
- 2 teaspoon (10 milliliters) vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (a dash of salt)
For the Caramel Sauce (makes 1-1/2 cups)
- 2/3 cup (160 milliliters) heavy cream
- 1/2 of one vanilla bean
- 1-1/4 cup (250 grams) sugar
- 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) water
- 1/4 tsp salt (a dash of salt)
- 2 tablespoon (30 milliliters) honey
- 3/4 teaspoon (4 milliliters) lemon juice
- 4 tablespoon (57 grams) unsalted butter
Making the Brioche Bread Pudding:
Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Butter a 9×5-inch glass loaf pan with the butter. Arrange the brioche slices on a baking sheet. Place in the oven until lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk until blended. Add the sugar and whisk until smooth. Add the milk, vanilla and salt and whisk until completely blended. Pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve, preferably a chinois if you have one.
Place the toasted bread slices in the prepared loaf pan, cutting the slices to fit as needed. Pour the custard evenly over the bread, filling the dish to the top. You may not be able to add all of the custard at this point. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, so that the bread can absorb the custard.
Just before baking, top off the dish with more of the leftover custard if the previous addition has been completely absorbed. Cover the dish with aluminum foil, place in the oven, and bake the pudding for about 30 minutes. To test for doneness, uncover the dish, slip a knife into the center, and push the bread aside. If the custard is still very liquid, re-cover the dish and return the pudding to the oven for another 10 minutes. If only a little liquid remains, the pudding is ready to come out of the oven. The custard will continue to cook after it is removed from the oven and it will set up as it cools.
Let the pudding cool for about 10 minutes before serving. You can serve the bread pudding by slicing it and removing each slice with an offset spatula, or by scooping it out with a serving spoon.
Making the Caramel Sauce:
Pour the cream into a small, heavy saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and use the tip of a sharp knife to scrape the seeds from the pod halves into the cream. Place over medium-high heat and bring to just under a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low to keep the cream warm.
In a medium, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, water, salt and honey. Use a good-sized pan because the caramel will boil vigorously and the volume will increase dramatically as soon as the hot cream is added. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Then allow the mixture to boil, without stirring, until it becomes amber colored. Watch the sugar mixture carefully as it cooks to avoid burning it. From the time the mixture started to boil, it took about 12 minutes to reach an amber color. Remove immediately from the heat.
The mixture will continue to cook off the heat and become darker, so make sure to have the cream close by. Carefully and slowly add the cream to the sugar syrup. The mixture will boil vigorously at first. Let the mixture simmer down, and then whisk until smooth. Add the lemon juice and let it cool for about 10 minutes.
Cut the butter into 1-inch chunks and add the chunks to the caramel one at a time, whisking constantly after each addition. Then whisk the caramel periodically as it continues to cool.
In a medium saucepan, pour 1/2 cup (125 milliliters) of caramel and warm slowly under low heat. Once the caramel has achieved a liquid consistency, add the raspberries. Warm the fruit in the caramel. Top the bread budding with the warm fruit caramel mixture before serving.
Do not crowd the bread slices in the pan. When a bread pudding is dry, crowding is usually the cause.
Pour leftover caramel in an airtight container, such as a glass jar and store in the refrigerator. This will keep for up to a month.
You can also use other fruits, such as peaches or blueberries, to add to the caramel mixture.