Pear Cardamom Bread Pudding

  • 1 pint heavy cream   
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom, ground   
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt   
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped   
  • 1/2 cup sugar   
  • 4 egg yolks   
  • 16 ounces water   
  • 1 cup sugar   
  • 1 pear, firm, peeled, cored, and diced 1/2-inch   
  • 3 cups bread, cubed 3/4-inch   
  • 1 teaspoon butter   
Preheat oven to 325°F (300°F for convection ovens).
Combine the cream, cardamom, salt, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and the vanilla bean in a 1-quart saucepan. Bring the pan to a simmer over medium heat.
While the cream mixture is heating, whisk the yolks with the remaining sugar to combine.
Combine the water and sugar in a 1-quart saucepan. Bring the liquid to a boil. When the sugar has dissolved, add the diced pear and return the pan to a simmer. Cook the pear for 5 minutes, or until just tender. Drain the pears and set them aside.
Butter a 1.5 liter (6-7 cup) casserole dish. Combine the cubed bread and poached pears in the casserole.
Pour the custard into the casserole, taking care to moisten the bread evenly. Cover the casserole loosely with foil and place it in a hot water bath. Bake the pudding for 50 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Serves 8