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Bread and Butter Pudding with Fresh Currants and Raspberries

1 loaf challah bread
1/3 c. unsalted butter
3/4 c. fresh red currants
3/4 c. fresh raspberries
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
3/4 c. sugar
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
1c. whole milk
1 ¼ c. heavy cream

Heat the oven to 325° F. Brush each slice of bread on both sides with the softened butter and cut each piece in half. Arrange the bread in a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate, overlapping the slices in concentric circles to resemble a flower design.

Tuck 1/2 cup each of currants and raspberries between the bread slices. Whisk the eggs, yolks, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, vanilla, milk, and heavy cream together and pour over the bread.

Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup each of currants and raspberries on top, cover with 2 layers of aluminum foil, and seal around the rim. Press gently to help the bread absorb the liquid. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Bake for 40 minutes, remove the foil, sprinkle the pudding with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, and increase the oven temperature to 350° F. Bake until the pudding is set and the top is golden brown — 25 more minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.


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Red Currant Dessert Sauce

This sauce is luscious with fruity desserts of all sorts and freezes well. The scarlet color makes anything look better. You might want to make red, black and white currant sauces to adorn a simple cake or custard to striking effect. In fact, this is nothing but currant jelly not cooked so far.

Makes 1 generous cup.
12 ounces red currants (2½ pints)
¼ cup sugar or more to taste
¼ cup water

Put all the ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and cook until the berries burst, about 10 minutes. Let them cool a bit, then push them through a medium sieve with the back of a spoon to remove the stems, skins and seeds. Taste to see if the sauce needs more sweetening. If so, gradually stir in a little more sugar; the acid in the fruit will dissolve it. Cover and chill. Stir well with a whisk before serving to redistribute the fruit.




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