Gale Gand, pastry chef and co-owner of Tru Restaurant in Chicago, demonstrates how to make her irresistible buttermilk bread pudding right on the grill. She also shares her rhubarb-pear compote recipe and simple strawberry sauce -- two delicious complements to this grilled dessert.
In May, thousands of grilling enthusiasts gathered in Chicago's Lincoln Park for two days of grilling demonstrations, tastings, and more at the first-ever Better Homes and Gardens and Weber Chill and Grill Festival.
Pastry chef and avid griller Gale Gand dazzled the crowd when she demonstrated how to make bread pudding -- on the grill! Click to the following slides to learn how to make this showstopping dessert at home.
Slice each pear in half, and use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds. Then cut a tiny "V" at the bottom of the pear to remove the blossom and pull out the fibrous string. Use medium-ripe Bosc pears -- their crisp-tender texture and honeylike sweetness pairs well with tart rhubarb.
To prepare the rhubarb, wash the stalks and remove the leaves, which are inedible. Then use a sharp knife to halve and dice the stalks into 1-inch sections. Use four stalks of rhubarb or one 8- to 10-ounce bag of frozen rhubarb.
Once you've combined your pears and rhubarb, slice a vanilla pod down the middle to expose the seeds. Scrape the seeds into the fruit mixture. Using vanilla pods is more expensive than vanilla extract, but the flavor is superior.
In a large bowl stir together 1/2 cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons light-bodied red wine, and 1/2 cup light brown sugar. Add mixture to the vanilla-flavored fruit.
At her demonstration, Gale asked younger children to add in premeasured ingredients; take her lead to get your kids interested in cooking.
Bake the fruit mixture in a 400 degrees F oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Once the fruit is finished, it will be tender and sweet with a hint of spice that pairs beautifully with the grilled bread pudding.
Strawberries in syrup are another perfect complement to this dessert, Gale says. Start by chopping the berries into larger chunks.
The natural juices of the strawberries create a rich syrup when combined with sugar.
Whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Gradually whisk in buttermilk and cream. Pour the custard base into a sheet pan or shallow baking dish to allow the slices of bread to soak evenly.
Work in batches, if necessary, when soaking the bread. Gale recommends using a soft white bread, such as a French baguette (pictured here), challah, or brioche.
Soak the bread in the custard base for 1 to 2 minutes per side.
Use tongs to oil your well-cleaned grill with a paper towel dipped in cooking oil. Lay the soaked bread slices on the cooler section of the grill. Grill about 2 minutes or until golden brown. Turn and repeat on the other side.
To serve, top the warm grilled pudding with spoonfuls of compote and strawberries. Add a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream and serve immediately.