Nutella Bread Pudding with Blackberry Coulis
This morning I ran into someone from my past and it set me back a few years. (Did you know that the algos in "nostalgia" means pain?) Felt heavy all day until I rushed home to make this bread pudding, which I've been drafting in my notebook during lunch breaks and on my commutes to/from work. The baker recommended brioche, but I went with sourdough because it lends an almost malted savoriness that balances everything out. And blackberries—so gem-dark and ominous, a touch tart—are exactly right with the sweet, familiar pudding base, itself laced with Nutella and Scotch for those days when you just need a little help.
6–8 slices day-old sourdough bread, 1-inch thick each
1 cup (or thereabouts) chocolate-hazelnut spread, like Nutella
2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon single malt Scotch whisky, optional
1 pint blackberries, divided
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon sugar
Make 3–4 sandwiches with the bread and chocolate-hazelnut spread. Cut into 1-inch cubes and nestle into a buttered baking dish. (Size isn't so important here; I've made this pudding in a pie tin, casserole dish, and spring-form pan—what matters is that you fill whatever container with as much bread as it takes, so you may need fewer or more sandwiches.)
Meanwhile, heat the cream and vanilla bean in a saucepan over low heat until hot and scalded but not boiling. Remove the bean and discard.^
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt, and whisky (add the vanilla extract here if not using bean). Very slowly pour in the hot cream, whisking vigorously to prevent scrambled eggs.
Add this custard mixture to the bread cubes, covering each piece thoroughly and even pushing down with both hands to ensure even soakage. Let sit for at least 10 minutes so the bread can drink everything up.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30–40 minutes, or until set.
While the pudding is in the oven, prepare the coulis (which is just a strained sauce): In a small saucepan, bring half of the blackberries, lemon juice, and sugar to a boil and cook for 5 minutes until reduced slightly. To remove the seeds, spoon through a fine-mesh sieve, scraping the bottom until most of the pulp and juice are out. This should leave you with a smooth, deeply purple sauce.
Serve the bread pudding warm with the coulis and garnish with the remaining blackberries.
^Or rinse, dry, and add to a bag of sugar for vanilla sugar or to a vial of Scotch for vanilla extract.