Michigan pastry chef Brian J. Karam uses only crusts in his bread pudding. The lemon curd and berries make perfect foils for the buttery bread.Plus: More Dessert Recipes and Tips
Set a small bowl in a medium bowl of ice water. Combine the butter, sugar, lemon juice and eggs in a nonreactive medium saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until thick and just starting to bubble, about 6 minutes. Immediately strain the lemon curd into the small bowl and stir over the ice water until just cooled. Remove the bowl from the ice water, press plastic wrap directly on the curd and refrigerate until cold.
Make the bread pudding: In a small bowl, combine the raisins and brandy and let stand for 20 minutes. If not using raisins, add the brandy to the custard in step 4.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Cut the crust from the bread in thick pieces and cut the crusts into 1/3-inch cubes; you should have about 5 cups. In a large bowl, toss the cubes with the melted butter.
Strain the raisins, reserving the brandy. In a medium bowl, whisk the whole eggs and egg yolks to mix, then whisk in the milk, cream, sugar and the reserved brandy. Strain the custard over the cubes and stir in the raisins.
Transfer the bread mixture to an 11-by-8-by-2-inch baking dish and place in a larger ovenproof pan. Pour enough hot tap water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden and puffed, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into squares. Serve warm, garnished with the berries. Pass the lemon curd separately.
The curd can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.