May 14, 2012

Strawberry, Rhubarb, and Apple Bread Pudding with Creme Anglaise

Confession: I have never had rhubarb before today. There was something scary to me about treating something that looked like pink celery without the groove like a fruit. So after seeing the fresh rhubarb at my first farmers market of the year, I put my big girl pants on and picked up a bunch.

I decided to dip my toe into the rhubarb pool with a fruit loaded bread pudding for Mother's Day. Strawberries and granny smith apple join the rhubarb with day old ciabatta rolls from the bakery.  Lemon zest, ground ginger, and vanilla flavor the custard light enough to serve for breakfast, which reanimates the rolls.  After a night in the fridge, let come to room temperature before baking.

I topped the bread pudding with a quick streusel and a rich creme anglaise from Joy of Baking.  A whole vanilla bean adds intense vanilla flavor and visual interest from the gorgeous black seeds to the egg yolk and heavy cream based dessert sauce.  Swoon!

Sweet strawberries and creme anglaise, tart apples and rhubarb, warmth from the ginger, and a bit of sour from the bread, it was the perfect Mother's Day dessert!  And of course, Brody helped too . . .

Strawberry, Rhubarb, and Apple Bread Pudding
6 cups cubed bread
3 cups strawberries, bite sized pieces
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, bite sized pieces
1 granny smith apple, bite sized pieces, tossed in juice of 1/2 a lemon
6 eggs
6 egg whites
1 1/2 cup skim milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
zest of 1 lemon
1/8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup quick cooking oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

First, prepare an 11X7 baking pan by coating it with butter.  Then cut up the bread and the fruit, tossing the apples in the lemon juice to avoid browning.

Next, prepare the custard.  Separate the eggs, saving the yolks in a sealable container for the creme anglaise.

Add the sugar and whisk until the yolks have just lightened in color.  Whisk in the milk, vanilla, ginger, lemon zest, and salt.  Combine the custard with the bread and fruit in a LARGE bowl.  Pour into the greased pan and cover with foil.  I refrigerated overnight to ensure all of the liquid was absorbed by the bread and brought to room temperature before baking, but if you have fresher bread you can bake right away.

To a 375 F oven, pop in the oven still covered with the foil on the middle rack.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, remove from the oven and remove the foil then top with the streusel.

Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, butter, ginger, and salt with your fingers and spread over the top of the bread pudding.  Bake the pudding for an additional 5-10 minutes, until the streusel is slightly browned and the bread pudding is bubbling on the side:

Let cool for ten minutes then top with the creme anglaise . . .

Creme Anglaise
From Joy of Baking
5 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean

First, heat the cream with the vanilla bean (NOT SPLIT YET!) just under boiling.  After you remove this from the stove, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until just lightened in color.

Start adding the warmed cream a little at a time while vigorously mixing, tempering the yolks.  In order to most effectively whisk while adding cream without slipping, pick a bowl with a rubber bottom or put a slightly damp tea towel underneath the bowl.  Both hands will be free so one can add and one can mix!  When you have added all of the cream, warm over medium heat in a large saucepan.

Stir constantly to avoid lumps and pull from the stove as you begin to see the mixture thicken and begin to give off steam.  Pour through a sieve to remove any lumps.

Finish the creme anglaise by splitting the vanilla bean, scraping the seeds with the back of your knife, and stirring into the still warm sauce.

Pour decadently over the bread pudding and enjoy!


  1. rhubarb definitely freaked me out the first few times i cooked/baked with it but when you combine it with strawberries and sugar there's really no way you can mess it up! This bread pudding looks so delicious!

  2. This bread pudding looks divine - your photography is awesome and I need this now :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  3. Wow this looks incredible, fabulous recipe! Love your blog, so glad to be your newest follower! xoxo

  4. I'm trying to follow the lovely looking recipe you have hear and to try a different type of bread and butter pudding - yet stuck on the second task "Separate the eggs, saving the yolks" how many eggs are we meant to separate - both the container and the bowl contain yolks. Sorry for confusion.

    1. 6 whole eggs and 6 egg whites . . . I used 5 of the yolks in the creme angleise!

  5. Looks so yummy! I am going to share this on!



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