The texture of this dessert depends on the type of bread you use. Coarse-crumbed bread will easily absorb the egg mixture for a fluffy pudding. Fine-crumbed bread will yield a denser, though equally delicious, result.
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus butter for greasing
- 4 to 6 cups (32 to 48 fl. oz./1 to 1.5 l) whole milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 1/2 cups (12 oz./375 g) sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 10 to 12 slices stale bread, each about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick, crusts removed
- 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) peeled and pureed Hachiya persimmons (from 2 to 3 persimmons)
- 1 cup milk
- Vanilla ice cream for serving
Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly butter a 9-by-5-inch (23-by-13-cm) loaf pan or other baking dish.
If you are using fine-textured or moist bread, pour 4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) of the milk into a large bowl; use 5 to 6 cups (40 to 48 fl. oz./1.25 to 1.5 l) for coarse, dry bread. Add the vanilla, eggs, nutmeg, cloves, 3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g) of the sugar and the salt and whisk well. Add the bread and let stand just until it is thoroughly softened, about 2 minutes; it should not be soggy. Transfer the bread to another bowl, reserving the egg mixture.
Arrange a layer of soaked bread in the prepared pan. Top with one-third of the persimmon purée. Pour about one-fourth of the egg mixture over the top. Repeat twice, pushing down the layers of bread as you go. Finish with a bread layer and pour over the remaining egg mixture.
In a bowl, combine the butter and the remaining 3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g) sugar. Using your fingertips or a wooden spoon, crumble them together and sprinkle over the top of the pudding.
Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the pudding comes out clean, 45 to 60 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Scoop into bowls and serve warm topped with scoops of vanilla ice cream. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Luscious Fruit Desserts (Weldon Owen 2015)