About two months ago I entered a food photography contest and won, which was exciting in and of itself, BUT what I was most excited about was the prize. A $250 gift certificate to Nordicware. YAY! Of course I got a multitude of bundt and cake pans, (even a pumpkin loaf one shaped like a pumpkin patch!), but one of the greatest kitchen accessories I ended up getting was their stovetop smoker. The first thing I tried smoking with it were the figs I used in this recipe. Jeremy wasn't a huge fan of the smoky and sweet combination, I think his exact words were "it's good, but it will take some getting used to".
I liked it straightaway, however, so you can choose to smoke the figs in this recipe if you happen to have a smoker on hand, but if you don't its not a big deal, just use them as they are. I also put little chunks of dulce de leche in the bread pudding, which were delicious and creamy and gooey, all of which are solid dessert qualities. I brought it into work the next day and everyone in the office liked it too, so it has been quality tested and approved. Hope you enjoy it!
1 lb Loaf of French Bread
9 Fresh Black Mission Figs
1 and 1/2 Cups Whole Milk
1 and 2/3 Cups Heavy Cream
1/4 Cup Dulce de Leche
4 Eggs, whisked
2 Tablespoons Butter, melted
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/4 Teaspoon Allspice
Moist-smoke the figs with applewood chips for 10 minutes at 195 degrees Fahrenheit, then remove them from the smoker, cut off their stems, and cut them into fourths. Set them aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then cut up the french bread into roughly 2-inch cubes and set the pieces aside.
Blend together all of the wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the spices and stir until completely combined. Add the bread pieces and allow them to soak in the mixture for 15 minutes.
Scoop the mixture into a greased 8-inch springform cake pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top of the bread pudding is a deep golden brown.
Allow the bread pudding to cool for 20 minutes before attempting to remove the sides of the springform pan. Serve immediately.