I hosted our culinary book group this month and because we're reading an obscure book called The Physiology of Taste by a French guy named Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, I wanted to make something mentioned in the book. It was written in the late 1800s and that was a bit of a challenge.
So, I went on a tried-and-true dish -- French toast bread pudding -- and gave it a twist. Taking a cue from the fab Mother's Bistro in Portland, I put some crushed cornflakes on top. Drizzled those with clarified butter and sugar. Folded in some blueberries and it turned out fine.
The recipe, which actually made two casseroles, uses half a dozen eggs, a cup of buttermilk, a cup of milk, one teaspoon vanilla and one loaf of challah bread, cubed and dried. One thing I've learned about doing eggs in a French toast recipe is that you've got to beat them before adding the milk. Otherwise, the whole thing gets gummed up.
Today, when I added the buttermilk, the liquid got so thick, I was concerned it might be too dense. So I added some milk and a couple of clugs worth of OJ. Then, I tossed that mixture with the bread and let it sit for 20 minutes or so before putting the cornflakes on top and baking it at 350 for 45-50 minutes. I do love bread pudding, both savory and sweet variations.