“I am typically not a fan of bread pudding,” Robert St. John admits. For St. John, a seventh-generation South Mississippi native and owner of New South Restaurant Group, the dessert conjures memories of blackened bread pieces and chunky pudding, but he experienced a sweet revelation after a trip to New Orleans. “I ate white chocolate bread pudding at Dickie Brennan’s Palace Café on Canal Street a few weeks after it opened,” he says, “and immediately came back to Hattiesburg to work up my own version.” At his Creole and Cajun–influenced Crescent City Grill, St. John’s fine-dining spot located four blocks from his childhood home, the chef uses a paddle mixer to beat sourdough bread cubes and custard together for a velvety-smooth texture. “The result tastes like a combination of both bread pudding and custard. Pulverizing the bread in the custard with a paddle gives it a very unique consistency.” He serves the pudding warm with a drizzle of hot raspberry sauce, using a double boiler method to melt the chocolate and mix the custard.
Velvety Raspberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding
Robert St. John puts his own silky spin on a creamy classic at Crescent City Grill in Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Photo: courtesy of Crescent City Grill
Raspberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding (Yield: 8 to 12 servings)
For the bread pudding
5 oz. white chocolate
4 egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup milk
¼ tsp. salt
1 large loaf sourdough bread, crusts cut off and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups fresh raspberries
For the raspberry white chocolate sauce
8 oz. white chocolate
¼ heavy whipping cream, warmed
2 tbsp. raspberry juice (pureed if made fresh)
2. tbsp. framboise liqueur
Make the pudding: Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Add white chocolate to a stainless steel mixing bowl and place over a pot of boiling water, melting the chocolate over medium heat.
In another steel bowl over boiling water on medium heat, combine eggs, sugar, vanilla, whipping cream, milk, and salt. Stir the cream mixture often to keep the eggs from scrambling. When the cream mixture is warm, add melted chocolate and stir well. Remove from heat.
Fold the bread cubes into the custard mixture, letting it sit for 5 minutes. Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, mix on low speed. Set aside the electric mixer and use a rubber spatula to gently fold the raspberries into the pudding mixture.
Pour the mix into a buttered 2.2-quart baking dish and cover with parchment paper. Place the dish in a larger roasting pan, and fill the pan with two inches of hot water. Bake for 45 minutes.
Remove the paper and cook for an additional 15 minutes to brown the top.
For the raspberry white chocolate sauce: Add white chocolate to a stainless steel mixing bowl and place over a pot of boiling water, melting the chocolate over medium heat. Add heavy cream, raspberry juice, and framboise liqueur, blending it thoroughly.
To store: The bread pudding and sauce will stay in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. Scoop out individual portions and heat in the microwave, and top with warmed-up sauce.