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Pear & Goat Cheese Bread Pudding

November 27, 2015

NOVEMBER, 26th, 2015 — This is how you know I’m not a professional food blogger: I’m sharing Thanksgiving recipes after the day. Anyway, here is my dessert. I take any opportunity to express my advocacy for the marriage of fruit and cheese, which incidentally, at our family table, is obviously easier than expressing my support for same-sex marriage and refugee amnesty. Happy Thanksgiving!

Pear_Goat-Cheese_Bread-Pudding (3)So what did you do?
I first prepared the pears. I had 2 d’Anjou pears, which I chopped both into long slices, as well as smaller cubes.
I sauteed them in a pot. I used pistachio oil, which was a gift fro Trader Joe’s that a friend gave to my mom, but you could also use butter. I drizzled in some honey and sprinkled in some cinnamon and nutmeg. When the pears just about go soft, I removed them from heat and set them aside.

I then chopped 1 loaf of French bread into cubes. (I used a lovely La Brea loaf, which is a bit sturdier and crustier than your typical supermarket in-store brand.) The smaller the better, as cubes with less volume will soak up the custard faster and more evenly. Also, it’s easier to Tetris-style fill your casserole dish with smaller pieces. I used French bread because it’s virtually fat-free and has little sugar, in comparison to richer choices like challah, panettone, or croissant. Personally I enjoyed the yeasty taste and crusty texture that the French bread provided.

Then, I whipped up the custard mixture:

  • 4 whole eggs
  • 2/3 white sugar
  • 3 cups milk (I used 1% and I think that’s fine)
  • 1 tbsp pistachio oil (again, melted butter instead of this would be a good choice too)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg

In a large casserole dish, I tossed the bread cubes, the pear cubes, and some crushed almonds. (The almonds don’t need to be toasted at this point since they’re going into the oven later anyway.)

Then it’s time to pour the custard mixture over the bread. I went in with a rubber spatula and made sure all the bread cubes were getting soaked in the custard.

Pear_Goat-Cheese_Bread-Pudding (1)I then topped with goat cheese, (I bought a fresh log and chopped up my own giant crumbles,) the long pear slices, and then some more almonds. I then drizzled the top with some more honey. I baked it at 350 degrees until the custard had set, and then served right away!

Lessons learned?
This behemoth took 1.5 hours to cook at 350. Probably because it was in such a deep casserole dish. I’ll use a shallower one next time.

It’s also not the sweetest dessert, so you may want to add more sugar if you’d like. Personally I think I should have added more cinnamon.

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