Reprinted with permission from Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz, copyright 2010. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.
|2 cups whole milk||1/4 teaspoon almond extract|
|2 cups heavy cream||1 tablespoon orange-flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or Triple Sec|
|Grated zest of 4 oranges, preferably organic||1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon|
|1/2 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling||1 large egg white, at room temperature|
|6 large egg yolks||7 ounces almond paste, crumbled|
|1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract||1 loaf (1 pound) firm-textured white bread cut into 1/2-inch slices|
In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, cream, orange zest, and the 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat, cover, and let steep for 1 hour.
Reheat the milk-cream mixture until it’s quite warm. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then gradually whisk in the warm milk-cream mixture, whisking constantly as you pour to prevent the eggs from cooking. Whisk in the vanilla and almond extracts, orange liqueur, and cinnamon. Pour the mixture through a mesh strainer into a bowl or large pitcher. Set aside.
Butter a 2-quart (2-liter) shallow baking dish or soufflé mold.
In a small bowl, beat together the egg white and almond paste until smooth. Spread a spoonful of almond paste over one side of each bread slice. Layer the bread slices in the prepared baking dish, almond paste side down. (If you are using a round or oval dish, halve each slice of bread diagonally to form triangles, then make layers of triangles arranged in a pinwheel pattern.) Pour the milk–egg yolk mixture over the bread and gently press the bread down, submerging the layers in the liquid. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the pudding for at least 1 hour or up to overnight, pressing down the bread from time to time so that it becomes completely saturated.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
Sprinkle the top of the pudding very liberally with sugar. Set the baking dish in a larger roasting pan and pour warm water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake until the bread pudding is puffed in the center and the top is rich golden brown, about 1 hour. Let cool until warm.
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