When it comes to dessert, I hate cloyingness. And blackberries¡ªso gem-dark and ominous, a touch tart, sometimes even bitter¡ªare exactly right with the sweet, familiar base of a bread pudding. This one is laced with vanilla, cream, and Nutella for those days when you just need a little chocolate in your life. Especially when you're at home and don¡¯t have plans whatsoever to leave the house.
It¡¯s not very often, after all, that you see bread pudding on restaurant dessert menus anymore¡ªwhich is a nice reminder that it is, and has always been, home food. But there was a moment in the 1980s and into the early 1990s, as Nigella Lawson writes in How to Eat, that it went ¡°from stodgy disparagement to fashionable rehabilitation and back to not-that-again clich¨¦dom.¡± The main thing about bread pudding, anyway, is that it¡¯s one of the best ways to use up stale, leftover bread you have lying around in one fell swoop.
But I suppose I love this dessert especially because it reminds me of my early days in New York, back when I seemed somehow to survive on sourdough toast and Nutella alone. Every morning I¡¯d pop a slice into the toaster, spread on the chocolate-hazelnut spread, and enjoy it with a cup of Dunkin¡¯ Donuts hazelnut coffee. Rinse, slather, repeat. This recipe holds that dulcet memory for me¡ªand I hope that, once you take a bite, it will provide the same for you and yours.
Note: Please feel free to use whatever bread you have left over. My baker at Silver Moon Bakery recommended a brioche for this bread pudding, but I went with sourdough because it lends an almost malted savoriness, not to mention a toothsome chewiness, that balances everything out. —Eric Kim
Preheat the oven to 350¡ãF and butter a 2 1/2- to 3-quart baking dish.
Make 3 to 4 sandwiches with the bread and chocolate-hazelnut spread. Cut into 1-inch cubes and nestle into the buttered baking dish.
Meanwhile, heat the cream in a saucepan over low heat until hot and barely simmering, but not boiling. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Very slowly pour in the hot cream, whisking vigorously to prevent scrambled eggs.
Add this custard mixture to the bread cubes, covering each piece thoroughly and even pushing down with both hands to ensure even soakage. Let sit for at least 10 minutes so the bread can drink everything up.
Sprinkle over the turbinado sugar and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until set.
While the pudding is in the oven, prepare the coulis: In a small saucepan, bring about 3/4 of the blackberries, lemon juice, and sugar to a boil and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until reduced slightly. To remove the seeds, spoon through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing down on the berries and then scraping the bottom of the sieve until most of the pulp and sauce are extracted. This should leave you with a smooth, deeply purple sauce.
Serve the bread pudding warm with the coulis, and garnish with a dusting of confectioners' sugar and the remaining blackberries.
Eric Kim is a senior editor at Food52, where his solo dining column, Table for One, runs Friday mornings. Formerly the managing editor at Food Network and a PhD candidate in literature at Columbia University, he writes about food, travel, and culture and lives in a tiny shoebox in Manhattan with his dog, Quentin "Q" Compson. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can follow him on Twitter @ericjoonho.