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 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.