This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie is a dried-fruit-studded French toast bread pudding called coupetade. On many fronts, there was no way that Howard was going to try this one, so I didn’t even consider trying to adapt it to his tastes. The only concession I made was to halve the recipe.
I’m indifferent to French toast, but I adore bread pudding. This was a new take on it that I’d never seen. First of all, you don’t just start with stale bread. You first make French toast out of the stale bread. Some sugar is added to the milk and egg for extra caramelization. The best French toast is made with egg bread, like brioche or challah, and that was the recommended base here as well. I didn’t make my own bread, but bought a small loaf from a favorite local bakery. The recipe calls for cooking the French toast in a sea of butter, but after my recent greasy pancake experience, I opted to lightly coat my electric griddle with some butter and cook the French toast as I would for breakfast.
The French toast is cut into smaller pieces and placed in a baking dish and garnished generously with dried fruit. My dried fruit wasn’t as moist or plump as it should have been, so I applied a tip that I’ve picked up over the years from the Dorista crew. A bit of liquor can only improve things.
While the French toast cooked, I soaked dried apricots and dried cherries is some warm kirsch, both to plump up the fruit and to give the coupetade an extra kick.
A bit of liquor can only improve things.
A simple custard mixture of eggs, sugar, milk, and vanilla is poured over the bread and fruit and baked in a water bath for an hour.
This dish can be served warm or cold. Traditionally, the French eat it cold, but I couldn’t wait and ate it warm.
I really enjoyed this. It is perfect comfort food! The creamy bread and custard contrasted nicely with the slightly tart and chewy fruit bits. You could use prunes, raisin, or dried cranberries, whatever happens to be on hand. Any non-savory bread would work too (I can’t quite imagine seeds in this one.) Even though I might be eating alone, I would definitely make this one again.
My sister Jane AND her family are huge bread pudding fans, so, Jane, make this one! You’ll love it.
We don’t post the recipes, but you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. To read about other interpretations of coupetade, check out the other French Fridays with Dorie bloggers’ posts here.
I’ve always been intrigued by this heart-shaped dessert molded in its only special ceramic dish with drainage holes. I was glad when coeur à la crème was chosen this month for French Fridays with Dorie. I thought it would make the perfect dessert for our Valentine’s dinner.
I’d never had this dessert before, so had no preconceived notions. This time, I didn’t have the special equipment lurking in my basement, so I went in search of coeur à la crème molds. I found a selection at my new favorite kitchen store, Kitchen Outfitters. They offered both a large one and smaller individual ones. I opted for one large rather than a set of small ones because without knowing whether I would like the recipe, it was more economical (i.e. cheaper).
I’d describe coeur à la crème like a cream cheese mousse. It was sort of like cheesecake, but much airier. You whip some cream cheese in the stand mixer with powdered sugar, vanilla, and liqueur (I used Chambord). Then you whip some cream and fold it into the cream cheese. The concoction gets wrapped in cheesecloth and set in the mold to drain overnight, though my coeur didn’t give off much liquid at all.
I pureed some frozen raspberries with powdered sugar to make a coulis to serve on top of the sliced coeur. I thought this was good, though I probably wouldn’t make it again. Howard, predictably, did not like it. Sigh…
We don’t post the recipes, but you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. To see what other Doristas thought of this recipe and whether their Valentines liked it more than mine, check out their posts here.
On a more positive note, Howard did enjoy the rest of the meal. I made oven-roasted scallops, Israeli couscous and broccoli rabe. And, we drank a lovely bottle of Cava, on a weeknight, so it was decadent.
And, our friend Lauren stopped by with boxes of handmade chocolates! They are gorgeous, and the ones tasted so far, delicious.