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Monday, October 4, 2010

HCB: Caramelized Pineapple Pudding Cakes

 Marie has said in her Last Cake, Next Cake summary a couple of weeks ago, that the Pineapple Pudding is a two-fer, as it calls for making brioche and if we make Rose's brioche, then that's another thing to cross off the list. Having read that, of course the next thing I did was completely spaced out about it (man, it sucks getting old and having my memory fails me!). Until last Saturday when I was waiting for the Golden Lemon Almond Cake to finish baking, I thought to look at the Pineapple Pudding recipe. I was shocked to see that it calls for making a brioche. So I immediately went into crazy baking mode and started the brioche.

This is my 3rd time making Rose's brioche. The other two times I used the recipe in the Bread Bible. I haven't made the side by side comparison but I don't noticed any difference in the recipes. It is pretty easy to made, just time consuming in that there are a lot of waiting around.

So on Sunday, I let the brioche dough rise in the loaf pan, while I preheated the oven. I have one of those dual standing oven, the big bottom oven is busy with lamb tagine, so I figured I'll use the top smaller oven. Rose said to bake the brioche on a baking stone. I have 2 baking stone, one is a fancy one from Williams Sonoma and a cheapo one from Bed Bath & Beyond. The fancy stone happened to be in the smaller oven, so I just let that one preheated. When it's all ready, I slid the loaf pan onto it, and at that time noticed that there's not much head space between the top of the brioche and the top of the oven. I didn't think that much of it because hey, there's still some room. Well, next thing you know, about 10 minutes later, I smell something burning, opened the oven and saw that the top of the brioche is stuck on the oven ceiling. On another circumstances I would have said: "hey Rose's brioche has nice oven spring!" This is not one of those circumstances. What I said was: "Oh shit!" I frantically grabbed my oven mitts, pulled the brioche out, pulled the baking stone out, put the cheapo baking stone in (it's shorter), put the brioche back in the oven, checked the head room (there are plenty of space!), went to the liquor cabinet and treat myself to a little sip of Grand Marnier.

Once the brioche finished baking and cooled, I cut all the burnt part off and freeze the rest in an airtight container.

Fast forward to Saturday a week later, it's pudding time!

The pudding calls for cutting the brioche into little cubes and letting it out to dry for 8 hours or letting it dry in a 200 degree oven for 1 hour. I used the later approach, much faster and the baby brioches are nicely crispy and ready to be soaked in the creme anglaise.

A couple of hours after the brioche started soaking, I started on the caramel. Pretty straightforward until I realized I forgot to add butter. I looked at them caramel, which is rock hard by now, in each ramekins and thought, hm.. do I want to do over? Make it, wait for it to turn amber, then re-distributed it by weight on each ramekins, not to mention that I would have to wash said ramekins first, coat with butter. I really weigh the pros and cons (more cons than pros), and it took me about 10 seconds to decide it's not worth it. Onto the next step of the recipe.

Roasting pineapples. Supposed to be pretty easy and straightforward. Calls for caramelizing water and turbinado sugar. I stir and stir and those darn sugar wouldn't dissolve. By this point I was in no mood to considering starting over anything so I proceeded, put the pineapples in and let it cook some more, then it goes into the oven. About 20 minutes and a lot of basting-pineapple-action later, I took the pineapple out and let it cooled while I watched the CSI Vegas recording on the telly.

Once the pineapple slices cooled, I cut it into thin slices and decorate the ramekins. Then press the soaked-brioche cubes onto it, then everything is baked in the water bath in the oven for 1/2 hour.

After it's done, I let the ramekins cooled for an hour, then plopped it onto a plate. Grr.. some of the caramel were stuck onto the ramekins. I grabbed another ramekins, same thing. The next day, I forgo Rose's instructions to reheat in water bath (no way I'm doing 2 water baths in 1 weekend) and instead heated up the ramekins in a "water bath" on the stove. 20 minutes later, when the ramekins are plopped onto the small plate, all the caramel has dissolved :).

Tasting impression:
I am disappointed. I love cakes with fruits and I really want to like this cake. What's not to like? There's brioche and there's pineapple. I like both, correction, I LOVE both. Plus this is a homemade brioche, which as far as brioche goes, is really top notch. But combined together, all I taste is the creme anglaise, which is basically sweet milk. It tastes good but if I'm going to spend all those hours making brioche and all the steps it takes to make the pudding, I want to have it tasting more than just sweet milk. Sorry Rose, but this one not be a repeat.


  1. You made me laugh so hard with your Brioche sticking to the top of the oven!

    Sorry, you did not like it, I know you had high hopes for this one! And see, you prove our point, that the caramel did not need the butter!

    I love how your pineapples on top are all fan like.. I totaly just plucked my inside the baking dish and called it a day. I was over it!

  2. "went to the liquor cabinet and treat myself to a little sip of Grand Marnier."

    Golly, this is the best post ever!!! Without a doubt, this Pineapple Pudding has to go on HCB record for being the finickiest. It tops the Tweed Angel Food Cake that fell out of pans. Or my three failed attempts at Salt Pinch Cake.

  3. LOL! Great post! I too laughed at your brioche sticking to the top of your oven plus your cheapo baking stone..i too have both..but i use the cheapo one more often actually..

  4. The caramel dissolves for the ones you waited to unmold until lateer? I have 3 left to still unmold. Most everything you said about this dessert is exactly the same in my kitchen. The caramel stayed hard and the dessert tasted like the creme anglaise sauce and super sweet pineapple. What a long dessert to say the brioche was the best part =).

    I love your photos! Your pineapple bread pudding unmolded beautifully.

  5. Thank you for letting my know how you unmolded the pineapple desserts. I will try this tonight. It is hard eating something when I am still bummed over it so I know your directions will help. The chocolate lava cakes only has 3 pages (including photo) so maybe we have a breathier this week =).

  6. Jenn, I laughed and laughed at this awesome post!

    Lamb tagine? When can I come over for dinner??? :)

  7. Yeah, I must say that I was getting very interested in that lamb tangine as I heard about the other parts of this fiasco - and can't say I fault you for tippling a tad in the midst of it all. lol


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