The white chocolate bread pudding from the Bistro Cafe at Nordstrom is fabulous. Any chance you can obtain the recipe? Thank you.
Eleanor Pielak, Oldsmar
Well, if you've ever seen the Food Network show The Best Thing I Ever Ate, this could, quite possibly, be the best thing I ever ate. This white chocolate bread pudding is rich and decadent and absolutely delicious. John Bailey of the Nordstrom public relations department saw Eleanor's request while doing an Internet search and contacted me with the recipe. John writes that they were excited to see someone request the recipe. The recipe is featured in the Nordstrom Family and Friends Cookbook. It is the most popular dessert in their Cafe Bistro. Although the recipe is not difficult to make, there are a lot of steps involved.
There are a few things that need to be said about the recipe. Use a loaf of French bread, not a baguette. I used Walmart's French bread, and if purchased sliced they are about ½ inch wide. I really mounded the bread in the baking pan, and after it came out of the oven and cooled, it sank, as it should, and was flush with the dish. The top will be golden, and that is what you are trying to achieve. My bread did not soak up all of the cream mixture, so I put a sheet pan under the dish in the event it bubbled over. (It did.) Use the best white chocolate you can. I used Valrhona because I had it. You won't be disappointed. White chocolate chips will do just as well. Don't be overwhelmed by the numerous steps. Make the sauces in advance and prepare the bread pudding the day before. This dessert is sure to impress your friends and family. It would be perfect for holiday entertaining.
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Cafe Bistro White Chocolate Bread Pudding
Vegetable-oil cooking spray
4 cups heavy (whipping) cream
2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
3 ½ cups (about 1 ⅓ pounds) white chocolate morsels
6 large whole eggs, plus 12 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (24-inch) day-old French bread loaf, cut into ½-inch-thick slices
Unsalted butter for the baking sheet in final preparation, plus more for brushing the baked pudding
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
2 cups fresh or unsweetened frozen raspberries
White chocolate sauce:
½ cup heavy (whipping) cream
1 cup white chocolate morsels
To brush on baked pudding:
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 pint fresh raspberries
1 (4-ounce) chunk white chocolate, to be cut into ribbons
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9- by 13- by 2-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
In a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, milk and sugar and heat just until hot. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate morsels and stir until melted. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, yolks and vanilla. Whisking constantly, gradually drizzle the warm cream mixture into the eggs, continuing to whisk until smooth and well blended. (If the cream mixture is too hot, the eggs will curdle. That's why it's so important to add cream very slowly and whisk constantly.)
Lay half of the bread slices in the bottom of the prepared pan. Pour half of the cream mixture over the bread and allow to absorb the liquid, about 5 minutes. Layer the remaining bread slices on top and pour the rest of the cream mixture over them. Press down on the bread, making certain it completely absorbs the liquid. Cover the pan with aluminum foil.
Bake the pudding for 1 hour. Uncover and continue to bake until the liquid in the center has evaporated and the pudding is golden brown, about 30 minutes longer. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
When the bread pudding is cool, cover and refrigerate until cold. Run a sharp knife between the edges of the bread pudding and the sides of the pan to loosen the pudding, then invert the pan onto a cutting board and tap the bottom to release the pudding. Peel off the parchment paper. Trim off the crusty edges around the sides. Cut the bread pudding into six 2- by 3-inch rectangles, and then cut each rectangle in half on an angle to form 2 triangles. Wrap and store in the refrigerator.
To make the raspberry sauce, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the water, sugar and orange zest and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thick and syrupy, about 3 minutes. Add the raspberries, reduce the heat to low and cook until the fruit begins to fall apart, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Then remove seeds by using the back of a spoon to press the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a bowl to catch the berry sauce. Set aside until ready to serve.
To make the white chocolate sauce, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the cream until hot. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate morsels and stir constantly until the chocolate is completely melted and the sauce is smooth. Keep warm.
To finish and assemble the dessert, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a rimmed baking sheet and place the bread pudding triangles on it, leaving space between the pieces. Brush the triangles with the melted butter. Bake the triangles until heated through and lightly browned, about 12 minutes.
For each serving, stand a hot bread pudding triangle on its side in the center of a large dessert plate. Run a stripe of white chocolate sauce across the plate, including over the top of the pudding. Pool some of the raspberry sauce at opposite edges of the plate. Garnish with raspberries and with ribbons of white chocolate cut with a vegetable peeler.