Sopa Dourada

Portuguese-Style Bread Pudding

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Complex

  • Serves

    10

Appears in

The Mediterranean Kitchen

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 1998

  • About

This recipe is a fantasy. Its name means golden soup. Traditionally, the desserts of Portugal are very sweet, often too sweet for our palates. We wanted to make a special bread pudding that would be Portuguese in flavor, fragrant with almond paste, citrus, and cinnamon, yet keep the sugar to a minimum. While we usually prepare bread pudding with toasted bread slices, we thought it would be fun to combine an almond-filled sponge cake roll with the rich egg custard for which the Portuguese are famous.

Ingredients

Sponge Cake

  • 4 large eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • ¾ cup sifted cake flour
  • ¼ cup finely ground toasted blanched almonds
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • confectioner’s sugar

Almond Paste Filling

  • 1 cup ( ounces) blanched almonds
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup egg whites (about 2 large)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • teaspoon almond extract

Custard

  • 4 cups half-and-half
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ star anise
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 7 large eggs
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¾ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup sweet Marsala

Method

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 15½ by 10½-inch jelly-roll pan, line with baker’s parchment, and butter the parchment.

For the cake, whisk the eggs, sugar, and salt together in a mixer bowl. Heat, whisking constantly, over a pot of simmering water until the mixture is warm and the sugar is completely dissolved. Then beat off the heat with an electric mixer until it forms a slowly dissolving ribbon on the batter when the beater is lifted. Sift the flour and nuts over the batter, add the lemon zest and almond extract, and gently fold until blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean and the cake is springy to the touch, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and turn it out onto a slightly damp towel that has been dusted with confectioner’s sugar. Peel off the parchment. Roll up the cake jelly-roll fashion in the towel and let cool.

For the filling, process the nuts and sugar to a paste in a food processor. Add the egg whites, lemon juice, and vanilla and almond extracts and process until blended.

Unroll the sponge cake and spread with the filling. Roll up tightly, like a jelly roll, and cover with plastic. (The cake may be refrigerated up to 2 days.)

For the custard, heat the half-and-half, cream, cinnamon, star anise, and lemon zest in a medium saucepan to barely simmering. Remove from the heat and let steep 2 hours.

Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and nutmeg together in a mixing bowl. Strain the cream mixture into the bowl and stir to blend. (This mixture can be refrigerated up to 2 days. Let warm to room temperature before using.)

To assemble the bread pudding, warm the raisins in the Marsala in a small saucepan. Let stand about 30 minutes to plump.

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Butter a 2-quart Pyrex or ceramic baking dish with 3-inch sides. Sprinkle the raisins over the bottom of the dish. Cut the cake roll into ½-inch slices and arrange the slices on the raisins in a single layer to completely cover the bottom of the dish. Pour the custard mixture over the cake; the cake will float to the top.

Place the dish in a larger baking pan and pour enough hot water into the pan to come three-quarters of the way up the sides of the dish. Bake until the pudding is still a bit jiggly and a knife inserted into the center comes out almost clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Remove the dish from the water bath and let cool 45 minutes. Serve warm with a pitcher of heavy cream.