White Chocolate Challah Pudding  

White-Chocolate Challah Pudding is one of our most popular desserts. This is no run-of-the-mill bread pudding: luscious, smooth, and sensual, it's like sex on a spoon. We see people acting like Meg Ryan in the movie When Harry Met Sally, and it's not uncommon for others to tell the waitstaff: "I'll have whatever she's having." If you only try one recipe in this book, I would recommend that it be this one. Especially on Valentine's Day. Even if you don't like white chocolate (and actually I'm not a big fan), you'll love this. It has the appearance of being light, but in fact it is one of the richest desserts we make. Serve it with a Raspberry Sauce to cut the richness or Caramel Sauce or Chocolate Sauce to enhance it.

4 cups challah cubes, crusts removed, if desired (3/4" cubes)
7 large egg yolks
2 whole eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
10 oz. white chocolate, chopped (about 2 cups)

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Place the egg yolks, eggs, and vanilla extract in a small bowl and mix to combine. Set aside.

Place the cream, milk, and sugar in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat and cook until scalded, or when bubbles begin to form around the edges and it has not quite come to a boil, about 7 minutes. Add the white chocolate and mix until fully melted. Gradually add the egg mixture in a slow steady stream, whisking all the while.

Place the bread cubes in an 8 x 8-inch pan and cover with the egg-cream mixture. Press the cubes down and let rest for 15 minutes.

Cover with aluminum foil and place in a larger pan filled halfway with very hot water. Transfer to the oven and bake until firm and, when touched in the middle, the custard does not show up on your finger, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check to see if you need to replenish the water after 30 minutes. If so, add enough to keep the water level at the halfway point. Serve warm with fresh berries, Raspberry Sauce, or Caramel Sauce.

Makes 6 servings

Note: Advance Preparation; Can be prepared one day ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.

Source of recipe: The Figs Table, by Todd English and Sally Sampson