With a little effort, you can make this three-star restaurant dessert from New York’s Mercer Kitchen with great success at home. The elegant, soufflélike dessert propels the concept of pudding to stellar heights. Make it for New Year’s Eve and other holidays, or any occasion when the intention is to dazzle and delight.
|Classic Brioche or purchased brioche, 1 day old||about
Six (3 by 2-inch) 6-ounce soufflé molds or custard cups, buttered or coated with nonstick cooking spray or oil | Roasting pan to use as a water bath | One 13 by 9-inch glass or ceramic baking pan for soaking
Dry the brioche cubes 8 hours ahead. Soak the brioche cubes at least 2 hours ahead. The pudding cakes can be baked up to 8 hours ahead.
Trim the crust from the brioche and cut it into ¾-inch cubes. You will need about
Add the bread cubes to the cream in a single layer. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours or up to 12 hours. Turn the cubes over partway through to allow them to absorb the cream evenly.
Twenty minutes or more before baking, set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and
Peel, halve lengthwise, and core each quarter. Remove the “eyes.”
With a small sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise in half.
In a 10-inch ovenproof sauté pan, place the sugar. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the sugar and rub them in with your fingers. Reserve the vanilla pod for future use. With a heatproof silicone spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the golden syrup until the sugar is moistened. Heat, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is bubbling. Stop stirring and boil, swirling the pan occasionally, to a dark amber and an instant-read thermometer registers 300°F/150°C (lower than usual because of the turbinado sugar). Remove it immediately from the heat as the temperature will continue to rise, or remove it slightly before it reaches temperature and wait until it does, which will happen in seconds. Add the pineapple quarters and pineapple juice and return the pan to the heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes, or until bubbling.
Place the sauté pan in the oven and roast, basting the pineapple with the juices every 5 minutes, until tender when pierced with a skewer. The juices will have thickened to the consistency of a sauce. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F/150°C. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the pineapple to cool to room temperature. Slice the pineapple widthwise into ⅛-inch-thick slices. Cut each slice into thirds. Arrange the slices in a single-layer fan pattern on top of the caramel-coated molds. Fill in the centers with cut pieces of pineapple. Reserve the remaining slices and the thickened juices to garnish the plate.
Drain and reserve any crème anglaise that has not been absorbed by the bread cubes. There will be almost ½ cup. In a small saucepan, stir this crème over low heat until slightly thickened and an instant-read thermometer registers 140° up to 160°F/60° to 70°C. Strain it into a heatproof cup or pitcher.
Fill the molds with bread cubes and press down lightly. Set the molds in the roasting pan and pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the molds. Tent the molds with aluminum foil and
Remove the puddings from the water bath and unmold immediately. Alternatively, let them cool on wire racks and refrigerate them for up to 8 hours. Reheat in a
Run a small metal spatula between the sides of the molds and the puddings, pressing against the molds, and invert the puddings onto serving plates. Drizzle with the reserved juices and crème anglaise, and garnish with roasted pineapple slices.
Copyright © 2009 by Cordon Rose, LLC. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.