This is Bess’s mom’s way of not letting day-old bread go to waste. Maine’s blueberry season extends from about mid-July to mid-August, and local pears make their appearance in the farmers’ market in August.
Mrs. Culpepper’s Pear Bread Pudding with Maine Caramel Sauce From Holly Chamberlin
Makes 4 servings
- ½ loaf day-old country French bread
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon cognac (optional)
- 2 medium pears, peeled, poached, cooled, cored, chopped
- Blueberry Caramel Sauce (recipe follows)
- Vanilla ice cream
- Cut bread into sticks approximately ¼x¼x1½-inches. If possible, cut so that each piece retains some crust on one end.
- Stand bread sticks loosely in 4 buttered ramekins, crust ends up. There may be bread left over.
- Beat eggs quickly with a fork and mix with milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, cognac (if using), and pears.
- Spoon mixture into ramekins. Let puddings rest for 30–40 minutes.
- Bake about 45 minutes in preheated 350° oven in boiling water bath to cover bottom half of ramekins. Tester should come out more or less dry.
- Allow to cool 20 minutes.
- Run a sharp knife around the edge and then unmold. Serve immediately with Blueberry Caramel Sauce and vanilla ice cream.
Blueberry Caramel Sauce
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 cup blueberries, preferably the smaller wild variety
- 2 tablespoons cognac (optional)
- Simmer sugar and 2 tablespoons water, stirring occasionally, until golden (about 5 minutes).
- Add blueberries and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes over medium low heat.
- Stir in cognac (if using), then cook for another minute. Allow to cool a few minutes before serving.