Monday, October 4, 2010

Heavenly Cake Bakers: Caramelized Pineapple Bread Pudding Cakes

I don't wear a watch. I am, however, pathologically obsessed with the time of day. These facts combined mean that, in practice, I use my phone as a watch, and am constantly clicking it to light up the display and tell me the date. This recently became a problem when I got a new phone that refuses to estimate the time when it is out of range or on the subway. Instead, it just says **searching**. As the subway displays also refuse to tell me the time when the train is in a station, this can get a little frustrating. Some subway stations are long and clockless, and I am usually hurrying out of them on my way to be late somewhere, so although I am aware of my phone's little quirk, I frequently pull it out reflexively and check anyway. It is usually **searching**.

Lately, this morning included, I've caught myself talking wearily to it under my breath. "Searching? I just bet you are." Or, in more philosophical mood; "Searching? Well, aren't we all."

This week, I channeled my searching into the making of a heavily caramelized, remarkably complicated Pineapple Bread Pudding. It began with the making of a brioche. Actually, I made two brioches, using Rose's recipe; one large one to sell at the bakery, one small one to use in the pudding. I trimmed the little loaf into cubes (it came just shy of the ingredient list's required weight, but I went with it), and then ravenously ate all of the trimmings.
Next, while the brioche cubes dried in a 200 degree oven, I made a very lightly cooked creme anglaise base (cream, milk, sugar, eggs...) and poured it into a shallow pan. When the cubes were dry, I slipped them into the creme anglaise to soak, covered and refrigerated.

Then came the caramel. This recipe has not one, but two caramels. The first, a quick water/sugar mix, with a little butter added, went to line the pudding molds--a shallow corningware dish and a larger oval IKEA number. The second was a kind of poaching liquid for the pineapple, with pineapple juice (or in my case quince poaching liquid) and corn syrup added in. I poach-roasted the pineapple, then cut it up, which was nice, because it had a clean yellow interior and a caramel crust, sort of like the smoke ring on good barbeque. As all this went on, I ravenously consumed the other half of the pineapple. Sensing a pattern?
At last, the assembly: Cooked pineapple laid in over pan-lining caramel, covered in milky bread cubes, which had soaked up all of the liquid. The dishes were placed into a water bath, and into a 300 degree oven. When they were lightly browned and bubbly, I pulled them out and unmolded the small square one.

Oh. The unmolding didn't go so well--as many other bakers have pointed out, the caramel stayed in a hard, thick layer in the pan, as all the rest flipped semi-neatly out. I went after it with a spoon and it cascaded down onto the pudding in taffy-like waves. Very pretty, actually, just not exactly right for such an otherwise soft dessert.
I found this one overly sweet, and would have liked a larger proportion of bread to topping, or perhaps only one caramel, but we ate it all, and Matt, newly returned from Rotterdam and sporting his usual sweet-affinity palate, was a fan.

Next week, the Heavenly Cake Bakers continue the search with Molten Chocolate Souffle and Lava Cakes.

2 comments:

faithy, the baker said...

Great idea to bake them all in one pan..save the trouble of having to proportion t hem into smaller portions.

Vicki said...

Two loaves of brioche. I would have gladly bought it! Love your oval pan. Perfect for this dessert.