It was only a couple of years ago I realized that I liked bread pudding. Up until then, something about the name had put me off; perhaps it made me think of that oft-served school lunch staple, rice pudding (shudder).
The first time I actually tried bread pudding was in New Orleans, at Nola. The first bite was a revelation - a billowy, soft custard with a syrupy glaze and just a hint of crunch. It was like nothing I'd had before, and I couldn't believe I'd gone so many years without really knowing what the dish had the potential to be. I never looked back - I've been baking bread puddings ever since.
In the winter months, my favorite recipe is a pumpkin bread pudding with brown sugar caramel. As pumpkin isn't exactly a summer staple, I decided to give a rhubarb and orange pudding a try. The following recipe is loosely based on this one from Bon Appetit - I was missing some of the ingredients and wanted to refrigerate overnight, so I adapted as written below.
Rhubarb-Raspberry Bread Pudding
1 cup seedless raspberry preserves
1/2 cup orange juice
2 lbs rhubarb, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup raspberries
1 tbsp orange zest
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 recipe homemade brioche cut into 1-inch pieces (or substitute a loaf of thick egg bread)
Whisk preserves and orange juice in a saucepan over medium heat. When dissolved, add rhubarb , raspberries, and orange zest. Cook until rhubarb is tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Pour mixture through a strainer set over a large bowl. Press on solids then allow to drain, about 15 minutes. Reserve solids; at this point, sauce can be refrigerated.