The exotic flavors of rose-flower water and cardamon are typical in Indian and Middle Eastern desserts. The bread cooks in a mixture of milk and sugar, but without eggs—so it's not as creamy as a typical bread pudding. Instead, it's topped with a rich custard sauce.
9 (1-ounce) slices white bread
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup evaporated fat-free milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon rose-flower water (optional)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 cup whole milk
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon finely chopped pistachios
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 400°.
To prepare pudding, trim crusts from bread. Arrange bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet; brush with melted butter. Bake at 400° for 8 minutes or until toasted.
Remove bread from oven; cool 5 minutes on a wire rack. Cut each slice into 4 squares. Arrange squares in overlapping rows in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Combine evaporated milk, 3 tablespoons sugar, and rose-flower water, if desired, stirring well with a whisk. Pour mixture evenly over bread. Cover with foil; chill 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Bake pudding, covered, at 350° for 15 minutes.
To prepare sauce, combine 2 tablespoons sugar and egg yolks in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Heat whole milk in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around the edge (do not boil). Gradually add hot whole milk to egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk.
Place milk mixture in pan; cook over low heat 6 minutes or until mixture coats the back of a spoon, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat; stir in cardamom.
Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 5 minutes or until sauce cools to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
Arrange 6 warm bread pudding squares on each of 6 dessert plates. Top each serving with about 2 1/2 tablespoons sauce and 1/2 teaspoon pistachios.
Sublime - the hint of cardamom was especially delicious, and the bread was melt-in-your mouth where it had soaked the most during chilling. I used the rose-flower water, but wish the flavor had come through more, and would increase the amount next time!
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