Caramelized Pear Bread Pudding

  • Yield 8 servings

Raisins are often the fruit of choice in bread puddings, but in this classy version caramelized fresh pears are used both in and on top of the pudding.

Ingredients

12 ounces sturdy multigrain bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 large firm yet ripe pears, peeled, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
2 pinches allspice
2 3/4 cups 1% low-fat milk
2 -- eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar or firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons dark honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (essence)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Lightly coat a 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.

Arrange the bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes.  Set aside.

In a large nonstick frying pan, melt 1 1/2 t of the butter over medium heat until frothy.  Stir in 1 T of the canola oil.  Add half of the pear slices to the pan and saute until evenly browned, about 10 minutes.  Sprinkle a generous pinch of allspice onto the pears, then transfer them to a plate.  Repeat with the remaining butter, oil, pears, and allspice.

Arrange half of the toasted bread cubes evenly in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Top with half of the sauteed pears and then the remaining bread cubes.

In a large bowl, combine the milk, eggs, 2 T of the turbinado sugar, the honey, vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves. Whisk until well blended.  Pour the milk mixture over the bread and cover with plastic wrap.  Let stand for 20-30 minutes, pressing down gently every so often until the bread absorbs the milk mixture.  Remove the plastic wrap and arrange the remaining pears on top.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1 T turbinado sugar.

Bake until a knife inserted into the center of the pudding comes out clean, 45-55 minutes.  Let cook for 10 minutes before serving.

This recipe is one of 200 contained in The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook, 2ndedition, available at retailers everywhere.

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