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5-spice fruited bread pudding with chestnut cream

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This delicious bread pudding includes baked apples, and can be made with any stale bread or pastries on hand. The flavor of chestnut is infused in the pudding and featured in the whipped cream topping.

Prep Time: 2 hours
Serving Size: 8-10
  • 4-6 c dry/stale bread or pastries
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 c half-and-half
  • 1 c milk
  • 1/2 c whole milk yogurt (optional)
  • 3 T Chinese five-spice
  • 2-4 T vanilla sugar
  • 2-4 T chestnut paste (optional)
  • 5 sweet-tart apples suitable for baking
  • 1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 c fruity liqid (sangria, sweeter white wine, apple or orange juice for example)
  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 1 c Chestnut tea, brewed and chilled
This recipe has four parts: The Bready Bits, The Pudding Bits, The Fruity Bits, and The Creamy Bits.

The Bready Bits:
4-6 c dried bread or pastries (doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, poundcake, etc.) broken into chunks/cubes, toasted lightly in a 300 degree oven if needed for good dryiness.

The Pudding Bits:
5 eggs
2 c half-and-half
1 c skim milk (it's what I normally have on hand - other types would be fine)
1/2 c whole milk plain yogurt (just for some extra texture and a bit of flavor)
1 T Chinese 5-spice
2 T vanilla sugar (or sugar plus 1/4 t vanilla extract)
2 T chestnut paste (optional)

Whisked together thorougly in a bowl.

The Fruity Bits (make this while the Bready Bits are soaking in the Pudding Bits):
5 large, firm, tasty baking apples (I used Honey Crisps), cored and sliced
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 T Chinese 5-spice
a few splashes of a fruity liquid - I used some sangria I happened to have, but a sweeter white wine, orange juice, apple cider, etc. would all work just fine.

Place apples in a baking dish. Mix with cranberry sauce and 5-spice. Bake, covered with foil, at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until apples are translucent and soft. Moisten with splashes of fruity liquid throughout baking time. (You won't need nearly this much for the recipe, but it makes a great side dish too, and I didn't want to get into using partial cans of cranberry sauce.)

Pudding assembly:

Place Bready Bits in a greased/buttered pan. I used my oval roasting pan as it was a good size and had a nice fitted lid. Sprinkle another T of Chinese 5-spice over the top. Pour the thoroughly mixed Pudding Bits over the Bready and Fruity Bits, topping up the pan with more milk or half-and-half if needed for fullness.

Allow to sit and absorb for 1 hour, stirring 2-3 times to make sure all Bready Bits are moistened. Meanwhile, prepare the Fruity Bits. When they are baked, allow them to cool somewhat as the Bready Bits soak up more liquid. Once an hour has passed, mix in about 1c of Fruity Bits, more if you like and have room.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place your pan inside a slightly larger, deep pan (I used a 9x11 cake pan) and fill the outside pan with water to about halfway up the sides of the inner pan. Cover the inner pan with foil or a lid and bake about 40 minutes. Remove the foil/lid and bake another 20 minutes. The inside of the pudding should still be moist but have a cakey look to it. You may wish to finish by turning on the broiler for 3 minutes to give the top of the pudding a bit of browning. Allow to stand and set a bit while you prepare the Creamy Bits.

Creamy Bits:

When you place the pudding in the oven, also place an aluminum mixing bowl and whisk (or whisk attachment for your mixer) in the refrigerator to chill. At the same time, brew one cup of Chestnut Tea from Adagio, allow to steep, and then place it in the refrigerator to chill as well.

As you remove the pudding from the oven, also remove your mixing bowl and whisk. Into the bowl place one pint (2 c) whipping cream and whip by hand or with your mixer until soft peaks form. Whisk in between 1/2 and 1c of the chilled Chestnut Tea, as well as another 2 T chestnut paste if you have it. You may wish to add a bit of vanilla sugar as well. Continue to whisk until incorporated into the cream.


Place servings of the pudding onto dessert plates, and top with the chestnut cream. Dust with Chinese 5-spice for garnish. Serve warm.

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