White Chocolate Bread Pudding Crème Brûlée

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON  -- Taking the Gold Medal in the desserts category at the 21st annual New Orleans Wine & Food Experience is White Chocolate Bread Pudding Creme Brulee by Erin Swanson, pastry cheft at Restaurant R'evolution in New Orleans.
Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Taking the Gold Medal in the desserts category at the 21st annual New Orleans Wine & Food Experience is White Chocolate Bread Pudding Creme Brulee by Erin Swanson, pastry cheft at Restaurant R'evolution in New Orleans.

Erin Swanson

White Chocolate Bread Pudding Crème Brûlée

Serves 8 to 10. Recipe is by pastry chef Erin Swanson, of Restaurant R’evolution, New Orleans.

1½ French baguettes, about 13 ozs.

5 large egg yolks

7 large eggs

11.25 ozs. white chocolate

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1¼ cup granulated sugar

1¼ cup whole milk

5 cups heavy cream

1 cup sugar in the raw

1. Spray a 9-inch-by-9-inch pan with nonstick oil; set aside. Cut the crust off the bread and then slice the baguette into ¼-inch slices. Arrange the sliced bread in the pan in an uniform manner, it should make about 3 to 4 layers of bread.

2. In a large bowl, whisk to combine the eggs and egg yolks.

3. Place white chocolate in a separate large stainless steel bowl.

4. In a large sauce pot combine the vanilla bean, milk, heavy cream and granulated sugar. Let come to a simmer then remove from heat. Using a ladle temper about ½ of the hot cream mixture into the eggs and whisk to combine. Then pour the rest of the egg mixture into the cream mixture, whisk to combine. Once the mixture is combined thoroughly, pour through a fine sieve over the white chocolate; whisk to combine.

5. Pour ½ of the white chocolate mixture over the bread. Let this soak for about 10 minutes then pour the rest of the custard over the bread. Let soak overnight covered with plastic to ensure the custard soaks through.

6. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Remove the plastic wrap from the pan and gently press the bread down, only so some of the custard coats the top of the bread. Cover the pan with foil. Place the pan into the oven on top of a cookie sheet, then add warm water to the pan, creating a water bath.

7. Bake the pudding for 1½ hours or until the center of the bread pudding is set and not liquid. Remove the foil and bake another 10- 15 minutes to brown the top of the bread. Remove from the oven and let come to room temperature. Place in the refrigerator and let chill overnight is best, or at least 4 hours.

8. Once chilled, using a paring knife slide the knife between the bread pudding and the pan to remove. Invert the pan onto a cutting board and gently tap the bread pudding out. Cut into 8 or 10 portions. To serve: Microwave the portions of bread pudding for 20 seconds to take the chill off. Gently sprinkle the sugar in the raw over the portions and using a blow torch, torch the sugar until it is a nice caramel.