Friday, 17 February 2012

San Francisco's Tartine Bakery Brioche Pudding

Mmmmmm..... Tartine.... they make some amazing pastries but as a Melbournite I was a little confused by the line spiralling around the block for breakfast. We have some amazing cafes and bakeries here that are easily on the same level - but when you have just under a quarter of the population of Melbourne in 1/72 of the space, I guess you should expect longer queues.

However we had their fresh fruit Brioche pudding and it was pretty spectacular. Well, I should actually say we had their grilled vegetable Croque Monsieur, a double chocolate croissant, an orange and cinnamon morning bun, a croissant jambon, a swiss chard quiche (made with creme fraiche - I'm going to have to try making that one) and a large bread pudding between the two of us.

I am always a little suspicious of restaurant cookbooks. Why would they give you their recipes when you could just then replicate them at home and save the money? Or restaurants in competition with you could steal your recipes?

But I guess with success like Tartine has found, it would be beneficial to sell some of your customers a $50 cookbook, because odds are you won't be able to bake enough to satisfy your daily demand anyway. I heard their bread sells out within an hour of opening - yes, I will admit it was pretty good bread. Though we pay $6 a loaf for artisan bread here in Aus, I was shocked to learn they can get away with charging NINE DOLLARS per loaf. For America, where food is at least 2/3rds of the price of here, $9 is pretty spectacular.

But they continue selling out, so they continue making more - and I can only assume they also continue to put the price up. They know they will sell out anyway, so why not charge $9? I can only dream of charging that price here. Anyway, my point was that their cookbook recipes seem pretty true to the in store version - so I guess they haven't left something out of each recipe to prompt customers to return to the restaurant. Good on you Tartine!

Anyway, enough discussion - more food!

Tartine Bakery's Brioche Pudding

*At the risk of being shunned by food bloggers everywhere, I have made a few adjustments... I know, I know. Tartine's Bread Pudding is known as the best anywhere, but I made a few tweaks due to personal taste. I have marked these and listed the original quantity in case you want to make it in its original state.


6 thick brioche slices
8 large eggs
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
4 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons vanilla (originally 1 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp powdered cinnamon (no cinnamon in original recipe)

Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Place your brioche slices in a baking dish so that they completely cover the dish. Cut slices up if necessary to make sure that all gaps are filled.

Whisk all other ingredients together and pour over the bread. If there is too much custard, leave for 5 minutes and the custard will soak into the bread. Top up with the remaining custard and leave for minimum ten minutes in total for the bread to become thoroughly soaked.

Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, checking the custard has set. If it is still a little runny, return to oven until no more liquid can be seen. 10 minutes before the pudding is due to finish, I like to push fresh slices of stone fruit into the pudding so that they can warm up. I have read that Tartine pushes these in with caramel sauce at the end, but I like to have them merge with the pudding a bit more. This is beautiful with fresh, plump apricots.

I like to leave the pudding on the bench for at least ten minutes before serving. This gives the bread time to settle, and also seems to set the pudding a little better if it cools slightly before serving.

Serve as you like - my favourite is as it is - but custard, caramel sauce, cream, ice cream will all go well with it!
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