If you're not from Birmingham, you've most likely never heard of Prairie Fire Grille. It was a locally owned restaurant that was five minutes from our house, so it was convenient. It opened it's doors in 2002 at a time where there weren't a lot of "upscale" dining options out our way so it was an instant success. My understanding is that when it closed it's doors in December, 2008, it wasn't because of the food quality and more an example of poor management.
I was always luke warm on their food but their White Chocolate Bread Pudding was a different story. I'd often order only a salad, so I could justify a couple bites of this incredibly decadent dessert. It's like no other bread pudding I've ever tried. It's made with slices of plain white bread that just becomes part of the custard and you don't know you're eating bread. And as good as that custard is, it's the topping that sends this over the top.
This is definitely one of those special occasion desserts and if you're not feeding a army (or my husband, who eats three or four portions per day.....I hate him!) you'll probably want to halve this. It will easily feed 12 people, so it would be perfect for your neighborhood Christmas potluck. You'll be the most popular person there.
Here's the recipe:
White Chocolate Bread Pudding
Prairie Fire Grille, Chef Shannon Nicholson
1 1/2 loaves of white bread, crusts removed
12 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 quart of heavy cream
1/2 quart of half and half
1/2 tsp vanilla flavoring
18 oz. white chocolate chips
For the topping:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 lb of brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup melted butter
In a greased 9x13 inch baking dish, place bread three layers thick. Trim as necessary. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until bright yellow. Heat the cream, half and half and vanilla until it begins to boil Add white chocolate chips to egg mixture and stir in hot cream until the chocolate melts. Pour mixture over the bread, making sure to manipulate mixture to soak every layer. Let stand 20 minutes and then add topping.
Mix ingredients well. Spread the topping evenly over the surface. Let the pudding stand for 15 minutes before placing it into the oven. Bake at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes.
I serve mine with a spoonful of whipped cream......because there wasn't enough cream there already!