Rhubarb and Ginger Bread Pudding Recipe
When I saw this recipe in Epicurious I realized I hadn’t yet had any rhubarb this year. Usually it’s one of my favorite things. The tart, sweet, complex flavor brings me back to my childhood—my mother handing me a dish of sugar and a pairing knife to cut off a chunk of rhubarb to suck on.
Like a precursor to the sucrose-laden Fun Dip candy, rhubarb dipped in sugar provided all the sweet-tartness a kid could stand. Each year I try different recipes to explore the richness of rhubarb. From Maple-Roasted Rhubarb Sauce to the classic Struesel-Topped Strawberry and Rhubarb Pie, they all are amazing in their complexity of sweetness and mouth-puckering tartness.
This recipe also plays with rhubarb’s tart side, pairing it with aromatic ginger and mellowing it with a sweetened custard, all tied together over a soft, luscious bread base. What more could you ask for? Although it initially used brioche, challah bread works just as well and retains it’s structure when soaked for a few days to let the flavors of the rhubarb and ginger really permeate the pudding.
Definitely don’t skimp on the fresh vanilla beans as it really adds an amazing richness to the custard (you can order Bourbon vanilla beans in your Full Circle order along with the rhubarb, of course).
- 1 cup seedless raspberry or strawberry preserves
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger
- 1 Tbsp orange peel zest
- 2 1/2 pounds rhubarb (preferably bright red), ends trimmed, stalks cut into 1/2-inch-wide pieces (8 to 9 cups)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- Butter (for dish)
- 8 (or more) 1/2-inch-thick slices challah, cut into square chunks
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream for topping
- Whisk preserves and 1/2 cup water in heavy large skillet over medium heat until dissolved.
- Sprinkle ginger and orange zest over.
- Toss rhubarb gently in skillet and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally until rhubarb is tender but whole, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover fruit and syrup separately and chill.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk together sugar and eggs in medium bowl until creamy.
- Add milk, cream and scraped vanilla bean to a heavy medium saucepan.
- Bring to simmer over medium heat.
- Gradually add hot cream mixture to egg mixture, whisking custard to blend.
- Butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch oval baking dish.
- Arrange bread chunks in dish to cover bottom.
- Distribute half of rhubarb evenly over. Repeat with bread and rhubarb.
- Pour custard over. Place baking dish in roasting pan.
- Add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up sides of dish.
- Bake pudding until just set in center, about 50 minutes.
- Remove from oven. Let stand in water bath 30 minutes; remove.
- Spoon pudding into bowls; top with whipped cream, serve warm.