Peach Bread Pudding with Southern Comfort Cream
Thick with peaches and cream, these bread puddings get extra punch from the Southern Comfort Cream surrounding them on the plates. Chef McCarthy uses rich brioche; you may substitute good flavorful French bread if you do not have brioche.
- Peaches - 8
- Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Cinnamon - 1/4 cup
- Brioche - 1/2 loaf (8 cups), crust removed, cut into 1-inch dice
- Butter - 4 ounces, melted
- Peach Schnapps - 1 ounce
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 2/3 cup
- Milk - 2/3 cup
- Cinnamon - 1 teaspoon
- Eggs - 3
- Southern Comfort Cream
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1 cup
- Half-and-half - 1 cup
- Vanilla bean - 1/2, split
- Egg Yolks - 5
- Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Southern Comfort - 1 ounce
- Fresh Raspberries - 1/2 pint
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1/2 cup, whipped to firm peaks
- White Chocolate - 2 ounces, shaved
- Cocoa powder for dusting
- Mint sprigs - 4
To make the puddings: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the peaches and blanch for 4 - 5 minutes. Place in a bowl filled with ice water to quickly cool them. Drain on paper towels. Peel off the skin. Cut in half and remove the pit. Mix 1/4 cup of the sugar and 1/4 cup of cinnamon together in a small bowl. In a large bowl, toss the brioche cubes with the melted butter and 2 tablespoons of the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Spread the cubes on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, until golden. Slice one fourth of the peaches into a large bowl and toss with the schnapps. Add the heavy cream and stir gently to coat.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon to a boil. Put the eggs in a non-aluminum heatproof bowl and beat until foamy. Slowly strain the hot milk mixture through a fine-meshed sieve into the eggs, whisking the eggs constantly to prevent curdling. Whisk together thoroughly, then strain this mixture into the heavy cream and peach mixture. Chop the remaining peach slices and add to the mixture. Fold the toasted brioche into the peach mixture, folding until the liquid is absorbed.
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Butter four 3-inch individual souffle dishes or ramekins and coat with the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Divide the pudding mixture among the dishes. Bake 20 - 25 minutes, until firm to the touch.
To make the cream: Put the cream and half-and-half a non-aluminum saucepan over medium-high heat. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the cream mixture, then drop the pods into the cream. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. In a non-aluminum bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar for 2 minutes, until the mixture thickens slightly. Add a large spoonful of hot cream to the egg mixture and whisk to blend. Slowly pour the rest of the hot cream into the eggs, whisking constantly. When all the cream has been added, whisk for 1 minute. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium-low heat for approximately 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not let the mixture boil. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl and let cool completely. Stir in the Southern Comfort with a whisk. The sauce may be prepared up to 1 day ahead, covered with plastic wrap pressed on the surface of the sauce, and refrigerated.
To serve: Remove the bread puddings from the souffle dishes or ramekins and place one in the center of each serving dish. Spoon Southern Comfort Cream around the plate. Garnish with clusters of fresh raspberries. Top each pudding with a mound of whipped cream. Stand chocolate shavings in the whipped cream and dust with cocoa powder. Place a mint sprig on one side of each plate.