Servings: Serves 6–8
Spread 1 side of each brioche slice with butter, then cut in half diagonally. Using a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, arrange triangles, slightly overlapping, with butter side up and cut edges facing in same direction to make a spiral. Sprinkle layers with raisins and 1/4 cup sugar.
Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk milk and eggs in small bowl. Pour mixture over bread, and set dish aside for 15 minutes for bread to absorb liquid. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until top is golden brown.
Meanwhile, set aside a fine strainer, and place a large bowl in an ice bath.
In a heatproof bowl, whisk 1/3 cup sugar and yolks until well blended. Add heavy cream and vanilla bean to a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan; cook over medium heat, watching carefully, until just boiling. Remove from heat, and whisk a few tablespoons of cream into sugar-yolk mixture. Gradually add remaining cream and bean, whisking constantly.
Rinse saucepan, then pour in custard. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until just thickened (do not boil!)—check consistency by dipping a wooden spoon in, then running a finger along back; the streak should stay intact.
Immediately remove from heat and pour through strainer into bowl in ice bath, scraping cream from pan bottom. Scrape out vanilla bean, and stir seeds into sauce; discard pod. Mix in whiskey.
Serve pudding family-style with crème anglaise in a sauceboat on the side.
Chef Armstrong recommends pairing this dish with a Sauternes.
From the March 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
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