The first time I had anything like this was at Gina Lee's Bistro in Redondo Beach, California. I saw the item on their dessert list and I was horrified. Mango, coconut, macadamia nut...all in a bread pudding? Skepticism is putting it lightly. I was amazed when the dish arrived. I sipped my water, debating whether I should have ordered the famous chocolate cake. I took one bite and a perfect fusion of flavors swirled around my mouth. It was perfection, and I humbly ate the most interesting bread pudding of my life.
I have tried to recreate the recipe hoping to do it justice!
3 whole eggs
8 egg yolks
5 cups half-and-half
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 16 ounce round loaf of King's Hawaiian Sweet Bread (preferably stale)
1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 mango, chopped into small cubes
Making the Masterpiece:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl whisk together the whole eggs and egg yolks. Set this custard mixture aside. Slice the loaf into three tiers to cover the bottom of glass 9x14x2.5-inch rectangular baking dish. Lay the bottom of the bread along the bottom, then sprinkle the top with the mango, coconut and macadamia nuts. Cover the layer with the browned top of the bread loaf. You will need to break up the bread to patchwork this together to fit the rectangular pan. Pour the custard mixture in the bowl over the top, press down gently and allow the dish to soak for 10 minutes.
Place the pan in a larger one filled with an inch of hot water. Cover the larger pan with aluminum foil and create a "tent" covering that does not touch the bread pudding.
*Creating a tent: There is nothing to be afraid of. You are essentially creating a little spa for your bread pudding. Bread pudding has a very moist consistency. This comes from the pudding steaming and the bottom of the pan being immersed in water so that the bottom does not brown or become brittle and crust-like.
Cut little holes along to top to allow steam to escape. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes longer. Keep a close watch on the bread pudding and remove when the pudding puffs and the custard is set. Remove the dish from the oven and cool slightly. This dish is like revenge - best served warm!
Bread Pudding is essentially a sponge and it is a perfect stage to soak in a delicious sauce like creme anglaise which compliments any bread pudding beautifully. I will be experimenting with a variety of creme anglaises to perfectly compliment this. A rum creme anglaise perhaps? We shall see!
Good gracious. Rising steam.
A scoop of ice cream never hurt a bread pudding. Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.