Episode 105: Fine Finishes 
Recipe: Bread and Butter Pudding
One of my favorite desserts, especially during the Christmas holidays, this British pudding is flavored with candied lemon peel. Buttered browned baguette slices are covered with a rich custard, topped with almonds, and baked in a gratin dish. The pudding is best served cool (but not ice-cold) or at room temperature.
Serve with whipped cream or crème anglaise for a richer effect.
Serves 4 to 6
8 strips lemon rind, removed with a vegetable peeler
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
2 cups milk
10 thin (3/8-inch-thick) slices baguette, preferably 1 or 2 days old
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup golden raisins
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar
Whipped cream or crème anglaise, for serving (optional)
Stack the lemon rind strips and cut them into thin julienne strips. (You should have about ¼ cup.) Put the strips in a saucepan with 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 seconds, drain in a strainer, and rinse the saucepan and the julienne strips under cool running water.
Return the julienne strips to the saucepan, add the sugar and the ½ cup water, and bring to a boil. Boil for 7 to 8 minutes, until the sugar cooks down to a syrup. Remove the pan from the heat and add 1 cup of the milk. Mix well to dilute the syrup, and set aside.
Arrange the bread slices in one layer on a cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until nicely browned. Remove from the oven and let cool to lukewarm. (Do not turn the oven off.)
Spread the butter generously on one side of each slice of bread. Arrange the slices buttered side down in one layer in a 5-cup gratin dish. Sprinkle the raisins on top.
Beat the eggs and egg yolks in a bowl with a fork or whisk until well mixed and smooth. Add the vanilla, cream, the remaining cup of milk, and the milk-lemon rind mixture, stir well, and pour over the bread. Let sit for 15 minutes to allow the bread to soak up some of the liquid.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Place the gratin dish on a cookie sheet and sprinkle the almonds on top. Bake for 35 minutes, or until set. Place under a hot broiler for 2 minutes to brown the top if necessary. Let cool to room temperature, and sprinkle with the confectioners’ sugar.
Serve the pudding plain, or garnish it with whipped cream or crème anglaise.
Copyright © 2011 by Jacques Pépin. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.