This is my first ever Julia Child recipe. I somehow, through all my baking, put on the back burner of my mind the countless Julia Child cooking programs my mom would make me sit through as a child. I guess I just never associated her with baking but more with flying chickens of the non-vegetarian sort.
Cinnamon Toast Flan - A Bread Pudding
*This recipe is for a 6-cup baking dish 2 inches deep (8" by 8" pan), serving 6 to 8
4 tbs salted butter, at room temp
6 thick slices white sandwich bread, crusts left on
1/4 cup sugar mixed with 2 tsp ground cinnamon
5 large eggs at room temp
5 egg yolks at room temp
3/4 cup sugar
3 3/4 cup hot milk
1 1/2 tbs pure vanilla extract
Preheat the broiler. Butter the bread slices on one side, using half the butter. Arrange them buttered side up on a baking sheet and sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over each. Watching carefully, broil for a few seconds until the sugar bubbles up. Cut each slice into 4 triangles. Smear the remaining butter inside the baking dish, and fill with the toast triangles, sugar side up. Set aside while you make the custard sauce (creme anglaise).
Transfer the mixture to a stainless-steel saucepan. Stir in the hot milk by dribbles at first, until all of it is incorporated and the eggs are tempered (the mixture should be smooth). Set over low heat, stirring slowly and continuously with a wooden spoon, reaching all over the bottom of the pan as the custard gradually heats and thickens - do not let it come near the boil. If it seems to be getting too hot, lift pan up, then continue as the sauce thickens. You are almost there when surface bubbles begin to disappear and you may see a whiff of steam arise. It is done when surface bubbles are gone and it coats the spoon in a light, creamy layer.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix in the vanilla to the custard and pour half through a sieve over the toast. Let soak 5 minutes, then seive on the remaining custard. Place the dish in a roasting pan and set in the lower-middle of the oven. Pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes, keeping the water bath at just below the simmer. It is done when a skewer plunged into the custard an inch from the side comes out clean.
It may be eaten hot or allowed to cool. Note that the custard will by runny if served hot and if served cold the custard will set to a thicker consistency.