"In many Latin American countries there seems to be a bakery on every corner," Fusté explains. "Leftover French bread finds its way into this bread pudding. Topped with caramelized sugar and cut in wedges like a cake, this is a dressed-up version of the homey classic. The recipe doubles easily for company." If you don't have a kitchen blowtorch to caramelize the sugar in step four, simply sift two tablespoons powdered sugar over the top of the baked pudding and serve.
Cooking Light AUGUST 2007
Preheat oven to 350°.
Spread softened butter evenly into the bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan, and sprinkle with brown sugar and walnuts. Set prepared pan aside.
Combine milk and bread in a large bowl. Let stand 15 minutes, occasionally pressing on bread to soak up milk. Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar, melted butter, vanilla, salt, and eggs; stir with a wooden spoon 1 minute or until bread cubes break apart. Stir in raisins, cognac, and 1/2 teaspoon grated rind. Pour bread mixture into prepared pan. Place pan in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan; add hot water to larger pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Remove cake pan from water. Let stand 5 minutes. Invert onto a serving platter.
Sift 2 tablespoons granulated sugar evenly over pudding. Holding a kitchen blowtorch about 3 inches from surface of pudding, heat sugar, moving torch back and forth, until sugar is completely melted and caramelized (about 1 minute). Serve warm. Garnish with orange rind strips, if desired.
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