Musical pairing – So Good by Brian Culbertson
So there I was last week sitting in a light-filled room listening to Pam Anderson of Three Many Cooks talk about recipe development; the one day workshop had just started and I had moved from my chair to stand at the back of the room so that I might take better photos. After several minutes, I quietly tapped a woman dressed in pretty pink on the shoulder and whispered if it would be OK for me to sit down by her on the couch; she nodded and made room for me. Pam was giving tips on how to approach each recipe – whether it’s working with ingredients or a particular method. I’m listening but also flipping through the beautiful program that has been prepared for the day; there are bios on each of the presenters including thumbnail pictures: Pam, Abby Dodge, Alice Currah . . . heart stop . . . quick side glance . . . OH. MY. GODDIE. I froze. Because in that moment I realize I’m sitting next to Alice . . . THE Alice of Savory Sweet Life and Everyday Alice . . . and that I had tapped her on the shoulder . . . OH. MY. GODDIE. ‘Please, oh please, oh please don’t let me be an idiot and say something really dorky!’ my head screams. Turns out, I had nothing to worry about as Alice is down to earth and as sweet as they come – a real peach . . .
And so is this recipe for Breakfast Bread Pudding with Peaches & Vanilla-Buttermilk Syrup (how’s that for a segue?)!
When my eyes first landed on this recipe in the August issue of ‘O Magazine’, I knew I’d make it and I knew I’d love it; for one thing, the recipe is made in a deep dish pie plate so it looks like pie but secondly, I wanted a spectacular recipe to use peaches from my very own tree – peaches that yield sweet nectar, nectar that quickly drips down your chin so that you either stand over a sink while eating or you make sure to have plenty of napkins for wiping away the evidence. Fruit so perfectly soft and tender that it cannot be tucked into lunchboxes; fruit that cannot be eaten gracefully on a first date, fruit that should be eaten picked fresh off the tree rather than picked up at the grocery store. Peaches. One of life’s utmost simple and seductive pleasures. Yes, I used the word ‘seductive’ on a food blog.
Now I’m going to admit straight up that this recipe will take a bit of work – but completely, completely worth it so don’t be daunted by the ingredient list or the steps involved – the rewards are exponential. And make the recipe on the weekend – assemble the night before, let it hang out in the refrigerator; the next morning, as you preheat your oven, put on some nice jazz music, pour yourself a cup of coffee or bubbly, grab the paper, start the crossword and bake the pudding. Make the syrup while the pudding is resting. Serve and savor every. single. bite.
The Professor and I had difficulty trying to come up with a proper name for it using the current street lingo – Is it ‘the bomb?’ or ‘off the hook’? or ‘it rocks’? or ‘sick’? Sigh . . . I haven’t a clue and I’m not even going to try – just make it and if you have any lingo suggestions, please let me know – I need all the help I can get.
BREAKFAST BREAD PUDDING W/PEACHES & VANILLA-BUTTERMILK SYRUP
O Magazine, August 2010, pg 210
FOR THE PEACH SAUCE:
¾ Cup Sugar
½ Vanilla Bean, split & scraped
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about ½ lemon)
6 Large, ripe yellow peaches, halved, pitted and coarsely chopped into ½-inch pieces
1-pound loaf Challah or Brioche, sliced ¾-inch thick
2 Tablespoons Sugar
FOR THE CUSTARD:
1-1/4 Cups Milk
1-1/2 Cups Heavy Cream
½ Cup Sugar
½ Vanilla Bean, split and scraped
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for garnish
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
2 Large Eggs
6 Large Egg Yolks
FOR THE VANILLA-BUTTERMILK SYRUP:
½ Cup Heavy Cream
¾ Cup Buttermilk
½ Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
½ teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Whole Vanilla Bean, split and scraped
½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
1. Make peach sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring sugar and ½ Cup water to a simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low; stir in vanilla bean (and scrapings from half bean) and lemon juice. Add peaches and simmer gently until softened, 10-12 minutes. Let cool slightly, remove vanilla bean, then using slotted spoon, transfer half of the peach mixture to bowl of a food processor. Pulse 4 to 5 times until mixture is a chunky sauce; set aside for assembly. Reserve the rest of peaches and their juices in a dish and refrigerate until ready to serve.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; toast bread slices in a single layer on a rimmed sheet tray until just golden and dried out, 8-10 minutes. Flip slices and toast 5-7 minutes more.
3. Make Custard: Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine milk, cream, sugar, vanilla bean (and half scrapings from half bean), nutmeg and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat, cover and let steep 20 minutes. Remove vanilla bean. Cool.
4. Whisk eggs and yolks in a medium bowl, then temper a bit of milk-cream mixture into the eggs, then whisk eggs back into steeped milk-cream mixture.
5. To Assemble: Grease a deep pie dish. Arrange pieces of bread on bottom to cover, spread ½ cup peach sauce on bread and repeat with remaining bread slices and peach sauce, ending with bread slices.
6. Slowly pour custard into dish, gently pressing down on bread as needed so it absorbs custard (pudding may need to sit a few minutes before adding more custard). Cover and let sit at least 40 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator.
7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle top of pudding with 2 Tablespoons sugar and garnish with a few gratings of nutmeg. Bake until golden, puffed and set – about 45-50 minutes. Transfer to rack and let sit 20 minutes.
8. Vanilla-Buttermilk Syrup: In a medium saucepan, cook cream, buttermilk, sugar and cornstarch over medium heat, stirring until sugar melts. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and whisk in baking soda, vanilla bean and salt; mixture will foam and froth. Let sit 2 minutes.
9. Serve pudding immediately with reserved peaches and vanilla-buttermilk syrup.
10. Life will never be the same.
SMITH BITES NOTES: When I make this recipe again, I’ll use a deep dish casserole or 9×13 pan instead of the pie plate as it’s difficult to layer all the components and add custard without overflowing. Also, make sure you add the scrapings of the vanilla bean to whatever component you’re working on – the instructions weren’t clear but I assumed I wouldn’t scrape that precious vanilla gold and toss it; also once you’ve removed the bean, rinse, dry and then tuck the bean into some granulated sugar – in a month or so, you’ll have some lovely perfumed vanilla sugar to use in recipes or add to coffee. I recommend doing steps 1-6 and refrigerate overnight; bake the next morning and while doing so, put together the syrup, then serve – eat as much as your tummy will hold, rest and repeat.
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I’m not only impressed with the pudding. I’m also impressed with the fact that you can have it for breakfast! No way I could get it together before noon 😉
Oh my. Oh my, oh my.
I’m with you on the peaches. They’re so seductive on their own that I have a really hard time eating them any other way than whole. But thanks to Gwen, I’m gonna can / jam some. And thanks to you, I’m gonna “bread puddin'” some… If there’s one reason why summer should stick around a wee bit longer, it’s for the peaches. 🙂
P.S. Love your comment about Alice!
I think I just fell in love with your blog! This recipe sounds super yummy…I have been peach kick lately and this is going straight into the save category. 🙂 Plus, I felt like I was with you when you were in the room tapping Alice’s shoulder. – I think I may have even blushed. Great post!
Oh, I read this post with a hint of jealousy. I so wanted to be able to post recipes with peaches from my very own tree. But you already know how that turned out. Can I just say it again? Darned squirrels! But as you also know, I have found another tree that is also mine so all is not lost.
What a wonderful post and recipe. I love it all – the pics and the writing. I could just put myself in your shoes tapping someone on the shoulder only minutes later to realize who it was I was tapping. And I would have been thinking the same thing – please don’t say something dorky!! I bet you were charming.
That is one of the loveliest bread puddings I ever saw! Making it sounds like a perfect way to spend a Saturday, I hope to try it soon 🙂 And I love your story of how you met Alice – it must have been so nice to connect with so many amazing bloggers 🙂
Awwww, that is such a sweet story about you and Alice. She does seem like a total sweetheart. Isn’t it funny how certain food bloggers have become our rock stars??!! Your Peach Bread Pudding looks amazing, wish I could dive right in with my spoon. xo
Last night I received 10lbs of peaches – and I promise this will be on my to do list this weekend! Can’t wait to get you out to Seattle one of these days so we can all hang out – Alice too!
Wow, what a beautiful bread pudding…looks so yummie and creamy with the peaches and buttermilk…what a nice treat!
Alice certainly is a sweetheart – and very talented to boot! Glad you got to meet her.
Now, that bread pudding is something pretty special too. It looks marvelous, for breakfast or anytime! 😀
What a fabulous blog & I did like your segueway at the beginning of this post – very clever! There are few things I love more than a bread pudding so will definitely be making this recipe – thanks for sharing. Looking forward to your next delicious post – Cheers!
This looks wonderful… I have a peach bread pudding that I have been working on also, and made up another batch of it yesterday that I will be posting tomorrow. I’ll have to give yours a shot to compare =)
Reading your wonderful love letter to The Peach I was nodding furiously. Nobody I know feels this way about fresh, off the tree, delicious, summery wonderfulness as me….., so I totally understand.
No peach is safe now that I have this recipe, it looks ……. peachy 🙂
Damn. I’m all about dessert-like items for breakfast. I need more peaches before the season ends!
I officially hate/love you for sharing this recipe with us. I need to arrange a brunch date RIGHT NOW so I can make this. ‘Cause I’m not making it without people around to help me eat it.
How much fun that you got to meet Alice! What a fun post, and what a beautiful bread pudding! I saw this in Oprah too, and I’m glad to see it turned out so well. It is on my to do list!
You are hilarious and this looks delicious!
Oh my! Beautiful post, and beautiful bread pudding. The best part is that it can be made the night before. Now that’s my kind of breakfast!
This looks amazing! Really AMAZING!
You are too sweet. I think you forgot to mention to everyone it took me until the very end of the day to realize who you were. I told you I hate looking at everyone’s chest to see their names and when I saw you were “Smith Bites” I squealed in delight and gave you a crazy hug. 🙂
It was so great to finally meet you. Tap me on my shoulder anytime. And I just love your photography!
I may not have a peach tree but I have a bunch of peaches. Can you say Costco? Now to be assured I can gather the troops to eat this divine looking dish so I don’t ‘have’ to eat it all by myself, cause of course I would never do that?
I just recently read about buttermilk syrup; so interesting to see it here, now seems a must try.
Of course so sad I missed the BSP; so many wonderful tweeps I know and now miss even more; including you!
Wow, this looks absolutely to die for! Can’t wait to try it!
I need to whip one of these up myself with all of the peaches I have had in my kitchen! It is a beauty. I am glad that you were able to meet Alice and everyone else in PA.
Like Melissa said, everything looks good in a cast iron skillet. Seriously, those peaches are gorgeous.
How cool, getting to meet people in real life & chatting 🙂 I love that! And I think that was a phenomenal segue, along with a delicious dish. Really beautiful.
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Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous! I think that you’re a real “sweet peach” too!
Can’t wait to sink my teeth into this!
That looks absolutely delicious love… I wish that I liked peaches more but it is simply gorgeous. My surfer will love it so I’ll make it just for him. Love your segue as well 😉
Yummy! This does look sweet.
And Alice is definitely a peach, a down to earth, friend for life kinda peach.