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Cinnamon-Raisin Brioche Pudding with Caramel Glaze

Sunny yellow brioche, rich in eggs and butter, is an ideal choice for a bread pudding. Have all of the dough ingredients at room temperature for the best results. Also, you’ll find the soft, sticky dough is easier to shape if you refrigerate it overnight. Serve the pudding with a pitcher of warmed cream, if desired. Reserve the leftover brioche for making other dishes (see related recipes at left).

Ingredients:

For the brioche: 

  • 1/4 cup warm water (105° to 115°F) 
  • 1 package (2 1/2 tsp.) active dry yeast 
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar 
  • 5 eggs, at room temperature 
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, plus more for greasing 
  •   

For the caramel glaze: 

  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter 
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar 
  • 1/8 tsp. salt 
  • 2 Tbs. corn syrup 
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream 
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 
  •   

For the pudding: 

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing 
  • 3/4 cup raisins 
  • 2 eggs  
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 2 cups milk 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 

Directions:

To make the brioche, in the 5-quart bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine the warm water, yeast and granulated sugar. Place the bowl on the mixer, attach the flat beater and beat on low speed to dissolve the yeast. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Beat in 4 of the eggs until blended. Add the flour and salt and beat until incorporated. Add the butter pieces to the flour and beat until incorporated. Continue beating on low speed until the dough is smooth, 8 to 10 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 5 hours or up to overnight.

Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut into 4 equal pieces. With floured hands, roll each piece into an oval about 4 inches long and 2 inches thick. Place the ovals side by side in the prepared pan. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until almost doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat an oven to 375°F.

Beat the remaining egg and use it to brush the top of the loaf. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes, then turn the loaf out onto the rack and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the caramel glaze: In a large, heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the butter with the brown sugar, salt and corn syrup. Cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream and vanilla. Be careful, as the mixture may bubble up. Use immediately, or let cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Warm over low heat before using.

To make the pudding, reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish.

Cut 4 slices from the brioche loaf, each about 3/4 inch thick, then cut the slices into cubes. Place the cubes in the prepared dish, sprinkle with the raisins and stir to combine. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Whisk in the melted butter, granulated sugar, milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Pour the milk mixture over the brioche mixture, stirring if necessary to moisten the brioche evenly. Bake for 20 minutes. Evenly drizzle the caramel glaze over the top and continue to bake until the top is lightly browned, the liquid has been absorbed and the edges are bubbling, about 25 minutes more. Let the pudding stand for 10 minutes. Serve warm. Serves 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch, by Georgeanne Brennan, Elinor Klivans, Jordan Mackay and Charles Pierce (Oxmoor House, 2007).