This bread pudding doesn’t just look pretty, those toast points have a function: to make the dish something more than just a mass of wet, sweet bread. It’s actually crunchy in parts, and that keeps every mouthful interesting. Serve this plain or with a sauce of your choice. Caramel is a classic, but a fruit sauce (like raspberry) works great also. Assemble your ingredients.
Bread selection is key. You want a tight-crumbed white bread that’s not fluffy like a mass-market bread. You also want it a little stale.
See? It doesn’t bend, it breaks when I put pressure on it. That’s a good thing.
Trim the crusts and cut the slices in half.
Butter them lightly with soft butter.
Lay the triangles out on a sheet pan.
And toast lightly under the broiler on one side.
Arrange them in a 12 or 13-inch dish. Oval is nice.
Combine the vanilla seeds and milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, combine your whole eggs, yolks and sugar in a large bowl…
…and whisk until pale in color.
Add the hot milk to the egg mixture in a steady stream, whisking all the while.
Strain the custard into another bowl, then slowly pour it into the baking dish. Use a spatula to keep the toast from floating around too much.
Put the dish into a larger pan (like a roasting pan) and carefully add boiling water. You want enough water to come half way up the side of the dish.
Press the toast down once or twice to help it absorb the custard. Bake in a 425 oven for 30 minutes. Serve it warm with a sauce of your choice. Or, cool it completely and refrigerate it, covered only lightly with foil, until needed. The toast will stay crispy for 24 hours. It’s excellent, maybe even better, cold.