A long name for an abundantly delicious dessert. We’ve been lucky here in Brittany with the weather this spring. I keep hearing about how normally springtime in Brittany means rain and wind and cold, but this year spring seems to mean summer. Well, let me clarify: some of us have been lucky with the weather. While I’ve been thanking the weather gods every time I’ve donned shorts or a skirt (or sometimes even a skort – no joke) and headed to the park to profiter du soleil, the farmers and gardeners have been cursing the gods for la sécheresse (the drought). Their curses have been heard: the last few days have been cold and rainy. As sad as I am to see the summer-like weather take a hiatus, I am grateful on behalf of the local farmers who I so appreciate every Saturday at the open-air market that their crops will keep on coming. So, I’m biding my time until I can put on my skort once more and in the meantime I’m keeping warm with desserts like this one:
For the pudding
450 grams (1 pound) bakery white, brioche or challah bread, preferably stale and cut into 1-inch cubes (some people prefer to remove the crust of the bread but I personally like to leave it on – it adds a nice crunch!)
3 large eggs
115 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
710 ml (3 cups) whole milk
For the toppings
40 grams (1/2 cup) toasted coconut
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt or sel gris
450 grams (16 ounces) peaches and apricots, cut into small pieces (I did 50/50 peaches and apricots but if you prefer a sweeter flavor as opposed to a tart flavor for your sauce I would do 3/4 peaches to 1/4 apricots)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
60 ml (1/4 cup) water
A few grinds or scrapes of fresh nutmeg or the zest of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 6 minutes, until crisp. Set the bread aside to cool.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar. Beat in the spices, vanilla and salt. Next, beat the milk into the egg mixture, scraping the bottom and side of the bowl.
Spread bread mixture out in a buttered 9×13 baking dish or divide it up amongst 6 small ramekins for cute individual-sized puddings. Pour the custard over the bread mixture, nudging the bread around a bit to make sure it soaks all of the pieces. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Bake in the center of the oven for about 40 minutes, until puffed and set, with the tops lightly browned.
While the puddings are baking, spread the coconut out on a baking sheet and toast it in the 350 degree oven, watching it carefully. As soon as it becomes aromatic and lightly brown, after about 3-5 minutes, remove the cocount from the oven. Stir it and toss with the sea salt and set it aside to cool.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the peaches, apricots, sugar, orange juice and nutmeg or lemon rind together until the sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking at a simmer until the sauce has thickened to desired consistency.
Once the pudding has finished baking in the oven and has been set aside to cool for at least 15 minutes, serve each portion on top of a generous smear of the peach-apricot sauce and sprinkle the top with toasted coconut.