Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
- 1-1/4 pounds brioche (or any egg bread), crusts removed, cut into 1-inch slices, then into 1-inch cubes (about 9 cups)
- 5 extra-large eggs
- 1-1/8 cups sugar
- 2 cups ricotta cheese, drained in cheesecloth if watery
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half
- 2 cups whole or 2% milk
- 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped orange zest
In a large mixing bowl, whisk 4 of the eggs. Add 1 cup of the sugar and mix well. Add 1-1/3 cups of the ricotta. Mix well. Add the vanilla, cream, milk, 4 tablespoons of the melted butter, and the orange zest and beat until smooth. Stir 7 cups of the bread cubes into the egg mixture. Let sit for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat together the remaining 1 egg, remaining 1/8 cup sugar, and 1/3 cup of the ricotta cheese.
Pour the bread mixture into the prepared pan. Scatter the remaining bread cubes over the mixture. Distribute the remaining ricotta mixture over the top in large spoonfuls. (It will not cover it all.) Dot with the remaining 1/3 cup ricotta cheese, and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter. Bake until the corners of the bread cubes are toasted and the pudding is very puffy, 50 to 60 minutes. The pudding should jiggle slightly (like Jell-O) in the middle, but it should not be runny.
Let rest on a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes or up to 6 hours. Warm the pudding before serving or serve at room temperature.
1/3 cup dried prunes or figs, or a combination, cut into pieces, about the size of raisins
3 Tablespoons sherry
Soak the prunes in the sherry for 20 minutes. Add the fruit and sherry to the pudding mixture at the same time you add the orange zest.
Yield: 12 servings