White Pumpkin and Almond Pain Perdu with White Chocolate

White Pumpkin Bread Pudding.png

Recipe courtesy Naomi J. Mobed

50g unsalted butter, softened + 1 tbsp
150-200 g challah bread, thinly sliced; preferably stale (about 3 days old)
1 jar (8oz) White Pumpkin and Almond Murabba + 3 tbsp (optional)
60g sliced, toasted almonds + 2 tbsp sliced almonds (not toasted)
2 large free-range egg yolks
2 large free-range eggs
40g caster or super-fine sugar*
300ml heavy or double cream
300ml organic milk or half & half
170g superior quality white chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract
Demarara sugar, to sprinkle*
vanilla ice cream (optional)

*When caster or Demarara sugars are not available, use normal white granulated sugar.

Simmer cream, bring to boiling point and remove from stove. Break white chocolate into small chunks and melt in warmed cream. Put aside.

Liberally grease 1.5-liter shallow oven-proof dish, especially the sides, with 1 tbsp butter. Spread bread slices on both sides with 50g butter and Murabba; arrange bread in overlapping layers in the dish, sprinkling 60g of toasted almonds in between. Put aside.

Beat egg yolks, whole eggs and sugar together in a large bowl until creamy, then beat in the cooled cream and white chocolate mixture, gradually adding milk and vanilla. Slowly pour mixture over bread, allowing it to soak in. Most of the bread will be submerged but allow top to be exposed to aid browning. Leave to stand for minimum 30 minutes, to allow the bread to soak up the custard.

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Stand custard dish in roasting pan and surround dish with boiling water to come halfway up the dish (bain-marie allows for gentler cooking of the pudding without eggs curdling). Sprinkle 2 tbsp sliced almonds and Demerara sugar, bake for 35 minutes until golden.

Turn the grill to 420F and brulée the top for 5-7 minutes (to desired dark golden brown color). Or, cook for 40 minutes at 350F and brulée with torch.

Optional: Shortly before removing pudding from oven, melt 3 tbsp White Pumpkin and Almond Murabba until runny but sticky. Dab this glaze over the surface of the pudding and leave to stand for 15 minutes before serving. The custard will continue to cook with the residual heat and firm up during this time.

Optional: Serve with homemade or superior quality store-bought vanilla ice cream.