Difficulty rating: 5 chef's hat (out of 5)
Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance.
Noreen says: "This recipe was featured in a Star Tribune “Table Talk” Blog Post by Rick Nelson on June 2, 2011. At Coco’s we make our fruit bread puddings after first berry harvest, starting with rhubarb bread pudding in the spring, then strawberries, raspberries, and finally blueberry-almond-white chocolate. In mid-January, we break out our stash of locally grown, frozen fruit to make our bread pudding, which makes all of our local customers happy. Most regular Coco customers loiter around waiting for the bread pudding to come out of the oven about 1 p.m."
For strawberry swirl:
To prepare custard: In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, half and half and vanilla extract. Slice bread, then tear slices in half. Add bread to custard (coating all bread with custard) and let mixture sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
To prepare strawberry swirl: Rinse, stem, hull and slice strawberries, cutting in halves for small berries, quarters for larger berries. In a saucepan over low heat, combine strawberries and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until juice from strawberries is released and berries are cooked but still hold their shape. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water. When strawberry mixture comes to a boil, drizzle in cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spoon custard mixture into a 9x9-inch baking pan. Spoon strawberry swirl over top of custard. Using a knife, cut swirl patterns into bread, allowing strawberry mixture to seep into bread. Cover with aluminum foil. Place pan in a larger 2” deep pan to create a water bath. Place pans in oven. Fill outer pan about 2/3 full with extremely hot tap water. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and continue baking until bread pudding is brown and puffs slightly, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven, remove pan from water bath to a wire rack and cool at least 15 minutes.
To prepare icing: In bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, combine cream cheese and butter and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar until incorporated. Add vanilla extract and salt. Increase speed to medium and beat until icing is smooth. Transfer icing to a microwave-safe container and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute, until mixture is thin. Remove from oven, stir with spoon and drizzle icing over bread pudding. Serve immediately (and refrigerate any leftovers).
Recipe from Noreen Ovadia of Coco's Cafe and Bakery in Washburn, WI
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