Lavender bread pudding, two ways

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You know how amazing it feels to enter a warm bakery after walking around in freezing weather? Like, oh, say, it’s January in Toronto and -15°C and you can’t feel your face at all and you’re pretty sure your toes are lost forever and Universe, WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME? And then you open the door, and not only is it warm, but it smells like heaven and there’s heat radiating from the oven and you are going to stuff your face with pillows of sugary dough and all of a sudden life is good again?

The downside of working at a bakery is that sometimes I get home at the end of a freezing day and my house doesn’t really smell like anything and there’s no dessert. Frostbite and loneliness are not the way to survive January. The obvious solution? Flip on the oven, make a heck of a lot of dessert, and invite friends over to share.

Bread pudding makes everything better. Even record low winter temperatures.

Now, I’ve been wanting for ages to use this lavender that I bought, but I wasn’t sure if it would pair better with chocolate or with berries. Naturally, I made a double batch to try them both, and the verdict was a draw! The chocolate one is intensely decadent, but the berry one is bright and lovely and would work even better at a brunch. So you can choose whichever suits you best, and either way your house will smell tremendous.

vs.

Lavender Bread Pudding, two ways:

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. whipping cream
  • 1 vanilla bean (optional)
  • 2 Tbs edible lavender
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 pieces star anise
  • Unsalted butter for coating pan
  • 1 1/4 c. milk
  • 3 large eggs + 2 egg yolks (you can use the leftover whites for an omelette!)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • roughly 1 lb of bread (the best is challah, brioche, croissants, or a mixture of them), torn into 1-inch-thick slices
  • 1 Tbs turbinado sugar (or brown sugar)
  • Either 1/2 c. chocolate chips or 1 c. mixed berries

1. Pour the cream into a medium saucepan and heat on medium-high. Split and seed the vanilla pod, and add the seeds and the pod to the cream. Add the lavender, the bay leaf, and the star anise. Stir the cream and watch carefully to make sure the bottom doesn’t scorch as it heats up. As soon as it starts to bubble, or if a lot of foam gathers on the top, take the cream off the heat. Allow to cool completely before straining it with a sieve or cheesecloth. Set aside 1 1/4 cups of the infused cream, and put the rest in the fridge.

2. Grease a 9×13-inch pyrex dish and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs and egg yolks. Add the sugar and salt. Then add the 1 1/4 c. of infused cream (make sure it’s not hot, or it will cook the eggs!) and 1 1/4 c. of milk.

4. Dump the bread in the bowl and toss until coated. Allow it to sit for at least twenty minutes, but if you’d like, you can also cover it and refrigerate overnight.

5. Preheat the oven to 350F. Toss the soaked bread with either the chocolate chips or the mixed berries. Transfer to your baking pan and sprinkle the tablespoon of turbinado sugar over the bread. Bake for 50 minutes – 1 hour, or until the tops are golden-brown and crispy.

6. In the meantime, whip up your leftover infused cream.

Serve warm out of the oven, topped with a hefty, hefty dollop of your infused whipped cream.

xo,

A

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7 Responses to “Lavender bread pudding, two ways”

  1. Esther April 6, 2013 at 7:54 AM #

    Looks wonderful! I have to ask – where do you buy cooking lavender in Toronto? I’ve been looking everywhere and haven’t had much luck.

    • onetoughcookie April 6, 2013 at 9:58 AM #

      Hi Esther,

      I found the lavender in the pre-wrapped bulk spice section of Qi Natural Foods, right by Bathurst and Bloor.

      • Esther April 7, 2013 at 8:55 AM #

        Oh amazing, that’s two blocks from me! Thanks!

  2. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies February 5, 2013 at 5:53 PM #

    I am in love with this recipe! Lavender is one of my favorite ingredients, but putting it in bread pudding is new to me. I wish this was my dessert tonight! 🙂

    • onetoughcookie February 6, 2013 at 12:28 AM #

      Kiersten, I’ve been a longtime follower of your blog, and everything you cook always looks so fantastic! If you do try this out, I would love to hear how it works out for you!

  3. Florence pape January 25, 2013 at 10:37 AM #

    Sounds wonderful except for all that whipping cream!! I can even smell it too!!
    Keep all the great recipes coming.
    Where does all the inspiration come from?

    Love, F

    • onetoughcookie January 25, 2013 at 12:08 PM #

      My unending appetite, of course!