Melt the butter in a small pan over a very low heat and reserve.
Cut the crusts off the brioche, cut it into slices about 2.5 cm/1 in thick and then cut these into cubes.
Toss the brioche cubes in the melted butter to coat, then spread them on baking sheets.
Put the brioche cubes in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Check after 5 minutes as they burn easily. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Reduce the oven setting to 160°C/320°F/gas3.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the vanilla sugar.
Bring the milk and single cream to the boil, then beat it into the egg mixture. Add the toasted brioche cubes, stir and leave to amalgamate for at least 15 minutes or up to an hour (if so, turn the oven off and then preheat it in time for baking the pudding).
If using fresh peaches, peel, stone and slice them. If using canned, drain them well. Arrange in a buttered gratin dish and pour over the custard mixture.
Put into a bain-marie with hot water poured to come halfway up the sides of the dish and
Take out, dust with cinnamon and leave to cool.
Make the grappa cream: beat the cream with the icing sugar and the grappa until it holds soft peaks.
Serve straight from the dish while still warm, with dollops of the cream on the side.
© 1995 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.