Summer Bread Pudding with Berries

Circle B Kitchen

Adapted from a recipe by Joanne Weir

This recipe calls for a 2-quart gratin dish, but I suggest you use one that's more than 2 inches deep. I found the 2-inch depth barely contained the layers. If you have one that's at least 2 1/2 inches you'll be able to fit it all in just fine.

10 slices (3/4 lb), sturdy white bread or brioche, crusts removed

5 tablespoons butter, melted, plus additional for brushing the fruit

1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and halved

1 1/2 cups raspberries

1 1/2 cups blueberries

1 1/2 cups half and half

1 tablespoon Kirsch

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (or substitute with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract)

4 egg yolks

2 whole eggs

confectioner's sugar

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Brush one side of the bread with the butter and halve the bread diagonally. Toast the bread, buttered side up on a baking sheet in the oven until the edges are golden, 8 minutes.

In a bowl, gently mix the strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Spread one-third of the mixed berries on the bottom of the a buttered 2-quart gratin dish. Using half of the toasted bread, top the berries with the bread. Repeat. Place the remaining berries on top. Brush the top of the berries with the additional melted butter.

Reduce the oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, combine the half and half, Kirsch, sugar and vanilla bean and heat the mixture over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is hot. Remove the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the hot milk mixture.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and whole eggs until they are combined. Add the milk mixture to the eggs in a slow steady stream, whisking just until combined. Pour the mixture carefully over the bread and berries. Place the gratin dish in a larger pan. Pour enough boiling water into the pan to reach half-way up the sides of the dish.

Bake in the oven until the custard is just set, 20 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar and serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Serves 6