Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Steve Gontram’s Harvest Bread Pudding

It’s always a sad day when a favorite restaurant closes its doors, sealing forever the fate of the vastly enjoyed dish. Such was the case when a local restaurant called Harvest, an 18-year-old farm-to-table eatery closed its doors in June of last year. As luck would have it, another local restaurant, Cyrano’s, a 50-year-old icon known for award winning desserts now offers up the luscious bread pudding originally created by Harvest chef, Steve Gontram. As further luck would have it, St. Louis Magazine published the recipe!

I am no slouch when it comes to bread pudding, and I know what I like. I also know that the sauce has as much to do with the success of a good bread pudding as does the pudding itself. If you’re like me, then you owe it to yourself to give this a try.

Steve Gontram’s Harvest Bread Pudding
(Slightly adapted and edited for clarity.)

2 loaves brioche
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cups granulated sugar
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped, both parts reserved
½ cinnamon stick
¼ tsp. nutmeg, freshly ground
3 egg yolks
3 whole eggs
Mint sprigs, for garnish
Powdered sugar, for garnish

For the sauce:
2 cups granulated sugar
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1 cup buttermilk
2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter
½ cup dried currants soaked in ½ cup bourbon

Whipped Cream
1 pint heavy cream
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350
ºF degrees. Pour raisins and bourbon into a small bowl and allow to hydrate while you make the bread pudding.

Remove the outer crust from the brioche. Using a serrated knife, cut the loaves into 1-inch cubes; place the cubes into a large mixing bowl.

In a 2-quart saucepot, combine the milk, cream, 3/4 cup sugar, ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract, vanilla bean and previously scraped seeds, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring the mixture to a boil and remove from the heat.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks. Slowly pour half the hot milk mixture into the eggs and whisk to incorporate. Add the remaining milk mixture and whisk together.

Let the custard cool slightly and then pour over the cubed brioche. Toss the ingredients together lightly and place in a greased 9-by-12-inch baking dish. Bake approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Make the sauce: In a 3-quart sauce pan (trust me on this one, this stuff really bubbles up), combine all the sauce ingredients except the bourbon and currants; bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat, add the bourbon and currants, and set aside.

Make the whipped cream: In a mixer, combine the heavy cream with the vanilla and sugar; whip until stiff.

To serve, cut the bread pudding into desired sized pieces and place in a dessert bowl. Top with bourbon-currant sauce and a dollop of whipped cream. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a dusting of powdered sugar. Makes 12 servings.

For more delicious bread pudding recipes, check out

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Linda said...

I was expecting your recipe to read "add the currants and drink the bourbon" :D It really looks delicious!
The last bread pudding I had (dessert in a restaurant) was so disappointing - I'm trying to think of the best way to describe it and all I can say is that it was heavy. I like mine light, if that makes sense.

bj said...

ummm, I do love Bread Pudding...must give this a try soon.