Savoury Parsnip, Bread & Butter Pudding

2013 Foodies of the Year Nick Cassettari from Alta Bistro gives us his take on traditional bread pudding.

  • By Nick Cassettari
  • March 1, 2013
Image Author: Clinton Hussey
  • Yield: Serves 8–10


1–2 sourdough baguettes (sliced a half-centimetre thick; each slice lightly buttered)
1/3 cup butter
1 1/3 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup white onion, diced
2 cups parsnip, diced
3 egg yolks
2 1/2 whole eggs
1/3 cup honey
1 1/3 cups milk
1 1/3 cups cream
Granulated sugar, for coating


Preheat oven to 415°F. Butter the inside of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, then start layering in the slices of buttered sourdough, placing slices across each other to cover the entire surface of the dish. Fill the dish evenly and mostly full.
Melt butter on medium heat. Add salt, garlic and white onions, then turn heat down and sweat onions for 15 minutes, being careful not to colour them but to just soften and concentrate their sweetness. Add diced parsnip and repeat the process, again being careful not to get any colour (stir every 1 minute). The parsnips should be soft and creamy.
While onions and parsnips are sweating, place yolks and eggs in a large metal bowl and set aside.
Once the parsnips have cooked, add honey, milk and cream and bring to a simmer, while stirring. Pour mixture into a blender and blend for 3 minutes, until very smooth. Pour the hot mixture over the egg in a thin stream while whisking. Now, pour the mixture over the sourdough. Allow 15 minutes for mixture to fully soak into the bread. Press parchment paper pudding and cover dish with aluminum foil.
Take a second, larger baking dish or metal tray and place the pudding dish into it.
Pour enough hot water into your water bath to go two-thirds of the way up the sides of the baking dish, then place in oven. (This larger tray that holds the cooking dish will distribute the heat evenly around all surfaces of the pudding.)
Rotate every 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, test the pudding with a cake tester, which should come out clean. When done, the pudding should bounce back a little when pressed, should be creamy, with the consistency of crème brûlée, and there should be no raw custard.
Finish the pudding by spreading a generous, even coating of granulated sugar over the top. Take a blowtorch and torch the top of the pudding lightly, as if you were burning a crème brûlée.

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