One of the greatest allures of the Instant Pot is not just the ease with which it produces soups and stews, but its ability to make puddings, breads and yogurts. This versatile appliance coaxes creativity and the desire to make healthy comfort foods in a new and easier way.
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Bread pudding calls to me each fall and winter. The grain-free version (that I provide a link to below) I love best because it’s quite high in protein. So I can eat it for breakfast with warm raw milk poured over it, and a drizzle of pure maple syrup. Ethereal pleasure: substantial dessert.
Dessert, breakfast or snack? How will you enjoy it most?
Cut bread into 1" cubes. Select bowl that will fit into the Instant Pot's stainless steel inner pot. I used a metal bowl with sloping sides that is about 4" high and 7-1/2" wide across the top. Place a piece of parchment paper into the bowl, pressing flat any folds. Add cubes to lined bowl.
Place the following items into blender: milk, eggs, yolks, maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt. Blend for 10-15 seconds, then, with motor still running, add melted butter through the door in lid.
Add 2 cups water to Instant Pot's stainless steel inner pot. Place trivet into Instant Pot. Place bowl with bread on top. Pour custard into bowl, pressing on bread gently so as to wet all the cubes. Place a small square of parchment paper over the surface of the pudding, and fold in any corners from the bottom piece that may be sticking out.
Place lid on IP. Seal and close vent. Press Steam button and adjust the time to 15 minutes. When timer goes off, allow the pressure to release on its own for 20 minutes; then press Cancel button and open pot.
Allow bowl to cool slightly, then remove pudding by lifting up on the corners of parchment that line the bowl. Transfer to a plate and flip over, so the bottom is the top. Slice and serve, with optional caramelized pears. Whipped cream would also be a lovely accompaniment.
And if you’re so inclined, the seasonal pear side/topping (of caramelized glory) is not only amazing to eat, it’s a really lovely process to make. What I’ve done in the past is to make the pear topping for the first time we eat the bread pudding… (it’s so special! Make it for someone you love!) And then we eat the generous bread pudding leftovers for breakfasts and snacks, with milk or cream poured over the top, and a bit of maple syrup or honey.
Melt butter in large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add pears and sea salt. Saute until pears begin to brown and soften a bit, about 8-10 minutes.
Reduce heat to low. Add maple syrup, stirring to coat. (Be careful; the pan's contents will sizzle and steam a bit.) Add vanilla. Add cream and de-glaze the pan, using the steam and your spatula to scrape up any bits that are stuck to the pan. Stir in bits, and turn off heat.