I’ve been cherishing my weekends more than ever lately since my workweeks have been extremely long and tedious. And this past weekend, my husband and I went on a little brunch date in the city, compliments of my friends at Grand Luxe Cafe. They invited us to visit and enjoy a wonderful brunch and we were delighted with all the offerings.
We kicked off our brunch with their famous Beignets. These were light as air, crusted in glorious powdered sugar and if that wasn’t enough for your sweet tooth, the basket of beignets were accompanied with a vanilla cream, chocolate sauce, whiskey maple sauce and cinnamon sugar.
My husband was in the mood for a hearty sandwich so he ordered the Grand Club Sandwich. This sandwich was stuffed with fresh roasted turkey, crisp applewood smoked bacon, arugula, tomato and mayonnaise on perfectly toasted bread. To balance the meal, he enjoyed the sandwich with a side salad.
If anyone knows me well, it’s no surprise I ordered “The Best” Eggs Benedict with Ham & Hollandaise. I’m a sucker for eggs benedicts during brunch because I know how involved it can be to make. The Grand Luxe Cafe version did not disappoint, as seen with the perfectly poached egg and the glorious yolk!
Just when we thought we had enough, we managed to squeeze a tiny bit of room to share a special dessert – Warm Sticky Bun Bread Pudding. This amazing dessert is made with bread cubes toasted in cinnamon spices, then baked in a silky custard. To serve, a heaping portion is garnished with whipped cream, drizzled with a whisky caramel sauce and sprinkled with sugared pecans for good measure.
Did you know that National Sticky Bun Day is coming soon? This sweet day falls on Tuesday, February 21st. Enjoying this dessert was the perfect ending to our special brunch. And as a special treat, my friends at Grand Luxe Cafe provided me with their recipe for their Warm Sticky Bun Bread Pudding! I’m sharing it with you so you can celebrate on Tuesday… but if you happen to live near a Grand Luxe Cafe, I highly encourage you to visit and indulge in the plethora of offerings they have!
The recipe below calls for brioche or challah bread. I’ve also had great and delicious success making it with other breads. A favorite brand of bread my family enjoys is from La Brea Bakery. Originally from Los Angeles, California, the brand is readily available at many supermarkets. If you want to mute the sweetness of the bread pudding, try using any La Brea Bakery Reserve loaves.
1 pound Brioche or Challah, cubed (or La Brea Bakery Reserve loaves)
2 sticks (8oz) unsalted butter,melted
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
4 egg yolk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place bread cubs in a large mixing bowl.
Combine the butter, sugars and spices in medium mixing bowl, whisking to combine. Pour mixture over the bread cubes, tossing to fully coat.
Transfer coated bread cubes onto a 9×13 baking dish..
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Stir bread cubes halfway through.
While bread is toasting, prepare the custard. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, heavy cream, eggs, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla.
Once the bread has toasted, remove the baking dish from the oven. Pour the custard mixture over the bread cubes and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes before resuming baking.
Reduce the heat of the oven to 300 degrees.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the 300 degree oven for 20 minutes.
Remove foil from baking dish and continue to bake for an addition 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown and the custard has set. You can test the custard by inserting a paring knife into the center of the pudding. If the knife comes away clean or with very little pudding clinging to it, the pudding is ready.
Allow the pudding to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
To serve, top the pudding with toasted pecans and warm caramel sauce. Service with either vanilla ice cream or creme anglaise.