Whitney Miller’s White Chocolate Bread Pudding Beignets

Whenever I visit New Orleans, I can’t go without a stop at Café Du Monde for beignets. I was spoiled too because I used to live just an hour and half from there. I could indulge frequently. Now it’s an hour and a half flight from Tampa. I created this recipe melding my two favorite New Orleans’ treats, bread pudding and beignets, into one. From the first bite into one of my white chocolate bread pudding beignets, you’re in heaven. From the crispy fried coating, to the moist and creamy bread pudding and the pool of melted white chocolate oozing out of the center, these beignets are everything you want in one and more.

White Chocolate Bread Pudding Beignets
Ingedients
6 cups (1-inch) French bread cubes
9 tablespoons half-and-half, divided
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons pure cane sugar
4 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Vegetable or canola oil, for frying
Powdered sugar for garnish
Raspberry sauce for serving, optional

Directions
Preheat an oven to 350° F.
Line 2 baking sheets with waxed paper and set aside.
Place the bread cubes on another baking sheet.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Place half of the bread cubes in a plastic zip top bag. Crush into crumbs. Pour the crumbs onto one of the waxed paper-lined baking sheets.
Add 5 tablespoons half-and-half and heavy cream to a medium saucepan over medium heat and simmer for 7 minutes or until hot.
Meanwhile, combine the egg, egg yolk, and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk together. Slowly add the hot cream mixture, whisking constantly.
Melt 2 ounces of white chocolate with the remaining 4 tablespoons half-and-half in a small saucepan over low heat until melted, stirring occasionally.
Gradually add the white chocolate mixture to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Stir in the vanilla.
Lightly press the bread cubes into the white chocolate mixture to soak. Allow to soak for 5 minutes.
Take three pieces of soaked French bread cubes in your hand. Add a few pieces of white chocolate to the center. Form the bread around the chocolate and press together to form a ball.
Roll in the bread crumbs and place on the empty waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the soaked bread cubes and chocolate.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Fill a large saucepan halfway up with oil and heat to 350° F.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
Fry the bread pudding balls for 3 minutes, turning halfway through frying.
Transfer the beignets to the paper-towel lined baking sheet to drain. Spoon the powdered sugar into a paper bag and add a few of the beignets at a time. Close the bag and shake to coat.
Serve warm.
If desired, serve with a raspberry sauce.

Serves 4.

Whitney MillerWhen she was just 22, Whitney Miller won the first U.S. season of the Fox show MasterChef. She is the author of Modern Hospitality: Simple Recipes with Southern Charm. While working on her second cookbook, she frequently travels around the U.S. and as far away as China to conduct cooking demonstrations and culinary classes. For more, visit whitneymiller.net, connect with Whitney MillerH on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @whitneymillerH.

Beignet photography courtesy of Stephanie Humphrey Photography.