It's before 7 a.m. and the place is bustling with at least a dozen bakers, some bent over mini-masterpieces for the breakfast crowd as they shake sugar, roll dough, and move carts stacked with crusty bread.
This is Flour Bakery + Cafe in Boston's Fort Point Neighborhood, one of four locations, and the air is sweet. We've got a narrow strip of space in the middle of the kitchen, one that allows workers to pass in front of the camera and behind it. Chef/Owner Joanne Chang looks into the lens and the words flow effortlessly as the distractions slip away. She is focussed like a laser as she describes step by step how to make this custard-pie-like treat. Here's her recipe:
Berry Bread Pudding
yield = one 9" pie plate
time = 20-30 minutes
-2 1/2 cups of 1/2-inch-cubed day-old bread
-2 egg yolks
-1/3 cup vanilla sugar
-1 1/2 cups half-and-half
-1/4 cup blackberries
-1/4 cup raspberries
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and yolks; slowly whisk in part of your sugar (reserving some to sprinkle on top.) Whisk in the half-and-half. Add bread to mixture and stir to coat well. Cover with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container and let sit overnight in the refrigerator. Or you can simply pour the mixture directly into the pie plate. When you are ready to bake the bread pudding, heat oven to 300 degrees F.
Unwrap the pan, sprinkle the top evenly with the blueberries and raspberries, sprinkle the remaining vanilla sugar on top of the berries, and bake until just barely set, 20-30 minutes. Test the doneness of the bread pudding by inserting a knife in the middle of the pan and bending it backwards a little bit to see if the custard mix has set up. If liquid fills the hole that you have made with your knife, the pudding needs more time. Remove from oven and let rest for several hours at room temperature. Serve warm or chilled. The bread pudding may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.