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Turning on my air conditioner stresses me out.

(So do the construction men outside my window who are making it so that I might actually have to start closing my blinds before I undress.  Although, I must concede I’m more concerned about the fact that the building they’re currently working on is going to obstruct my sunlight more than I am that they’ll see me naked.

The people in the research building across the street have been getting an eyeful for two years.  Now is not the time for modesty.

Especially if we can work out some kind of deal whereby I leave my blinds open in exchange for them putting a big enough hole in the building they’re working on so that I still manage to get some direct sunlight.

You guys give me the best ideas.  I’m on it.)

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Enough about my undressing habits.

Air conditioner stress.  I have it.

Last summer it got so bad that I only turned my air conditioner on once.  At most.  Probably more like half a time.  Okay, really, I may have thought to myself that putting it on might be a good idea.  But then in all likelihood, I didn’t go there.

It’s just that.  When I turn it on…I get cold.  And so then I turn it off.  And I get hot.  Do you see where I’m going with this?

Vicious cycle.

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Don’t worry. I came up with a solution.

Really, the solution found me.  (But I plan on taking all the credit for it.)

See, when I’m stressed, I bake. (When I’m happy, I bake.  When I’m bored, I bake.  When it’s a day that ends in “y”, I bake.  Are you noticing a trend?)

So when it got super hot on Wednesday and a heat warning was issued, I thought it would be prudent to turn the A/C on.  Then I got myself into a tither.  And decided to bake some bread.

Not just any bread, though.

Pain brioche.

(The bread to end all breads.)

And in doing so realized that air conditioning + oven preheated to 430 = perfect room temperature.  Don’t you just love it when things work out?

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This pain brioche recipe is a Julia Child recipe.

Which begs the question.  Why her?  Why now?

A few weeks ago, Gourmet Live posted a list of the 50 most influential women in food.  Mary, Claudia, Val and I are going to be cooking a recipe from each of these women for the next 50 weeks in order to celebrate just how prominent and successful females can be in a mostly male-dominated profession.

Julia, of course, was number one.  She revolutionized the way home cooks thought about food through her television show The French Chef and showed women (and men) everywhere that dainty and seemingly gourmet food was, in fact, within their reach.

Her brioche recipe is a key example of this.  Making it is really quite simple and straightforward, while the end result is nothing but sheer decadence.  It tastes like bread already buttered.  And really, is there anything better than that?

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Actually, yes there is.

It’s called bread pudding.

Let me explain.

Buttery brioche cubes soaked in milk, sugar, and eggs.

Mixed with chocolate.  And topped with a blackberry lime jam.

Perfect for a weekend morning or a Thursday night snack.  Trust me. I know.

Picnik collage

Pain Brioche
Makes 1 9-inch loaf, adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 2


1 tbsp yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 lb AP flour
4 eggs
1 stick (4 oz) butter, chilled

1. Sprinkle yeast in warm water and let liquefy completely.  Stir in the salt, sugar, and milk.

2. Measure the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add the eggs and yeast.  Stir using the bread hook on medium speed until combined.  Then continue to stir 2-3 minutes.

3. When dough begins to clean itself off the sides of the bowl, start adding in the butter by tbsp bits.  When the butter is absorbed, let the dough rest for 2 to 3 minutes.  Knead again briefly by letting the mixer run on medium-high speed for 5 minutes.

4.Place in a well-greased bowl.  Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for 2 hours or until doubled.

5. Preheat oven to 430**.  Grease a loaf pan.  Punch down the dough and form it into the shape of a loaf.  Place in the loaf pan.  Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for one hour.  Put in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until it sounds hollow when you tap on it.  Allow to cool before slicing.

**This seemed a bit high and as a result the top of my bread burned a little.  After looking at other recipes, I would heat the oven at 350 and cook for 35 to 45 minutes.

This recipe has been yeastspotted!

Blackberry Lime Bread Pudding
Makes 24 bread pudding muffins, an Eats Well With Other original

1 loaf stale brioche
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups almond milk
4 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vanilla sugar
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
9 oz semisweet chocolate chips
12 oz blackberries
1/4 cup water
Juice of one lime
6 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350.   Tear the brioche into small-ish cubes.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the eggs, milks, sugars, vanilla and chocolate chips.

2. Put the bread into a large bowl.  Pour the milk mixture over it and use a spatula to push the bread into the milk so that it get soaked.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and as long as overnight.

3. While bread is soaking, make the blackberry lime sauce.  In a food processor, combine the blackberries, water, sugar, vanilla and lime. Pulse until pureed.  Pour into a small pan and bring to a boil.  Mix in the tbsp of flour.  Simmer until thickened, about 5-10 minutes.  Set aside.

4. Grease two muffin tins.  Scoop the bread pudding batter into the tins, evenly.  Top with a layer of the blackberry sauce.  Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the tins among the bottom and top shelf about halfway through.  Allow to cool before eating.

This is my submission to this month’s Paper Chef as well as to Victoria’s Bread Pudding of the Month Club!

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You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at http://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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103 Responses to Blackberry Lime Bread Pudding made with Julia Child’s Pain Brioche

  1. Umm.. wow! Those look great!!!!

  2. Simply Life says:

    wowowowow! I want one! Ha, I’m the same way – I haven’t turned on the AC yet and figured if I’ve made it through the upper 90’s then I can make it through anything. I think 100 degrees or more is when I’ll turn it on 🙂

  3. This looks so good that I am now totally craving it. The bread alone is incredible and then add the rest and it is outrageous!

  4. sofia says:

    wow. brioche seems like something i am totally capaple of baking, unlike most of the things on your blog 😛 must try! then maybe also the bread pudding step. maybe.

    love the woman-baking-power-post idea. thumbs up.

  5. You have a great solution – exposure in both directions is a win-win solution. Makes everyone happy:)
    I am guessing the brioche has to be made a few days in advance for it to get stale. This is a multi-day recipe:)

  6. claudia says:

    What a brilliant idea!! And your photos are super! Delicious all round! Julia would be proud of you!
    Claudia

  7. Victoria says:

    This is reason # 5,639 why I love you!!! Awesome bread pudding, from the bread to the bread pudding 🙂 I love it and I love you! Have a great weekend, I miss you!

  8. I didn’t turn on the A/C either last year but that’s because my apartment is shady and it is better for the environment, but turning on the oven is maddening!! Maddening, girl! It is a shame you needed that whole loaf to go stale to use it in bread pudding because I am sure it would have been super delicious fresh… 🙂

  9. Shannon says:

    I have the same issue with the AC! It’s similar to how I sleep with it on but then go ahead and sleep under not one but two down comforters.

    This dessert looks absolutely fabulous. I’m going to close my eyes and pretend I’m eating it right now.

  10. ARLENE says:

    FANtastic (pun intended). I have to make some pain perdu and this loaf will be perfect.

  11. vanillasugar says:

    oven hasn’t been on in days.
    i am not a fan of the a/c at all, but when its this humid i need it or i swell up to a balloon.
    why can’t we have dry heat? we never get dry heat. just humidity, rain, then snow.
    well if the oven must go on then brioche is a good penance err choice.

  12. bellini says:

    Better work on creating that hole in the building Joanne, but my question is….don’t we all cook naked:D Is it just me;D This is a perfect tribute to Julia Child whom I sure cooked naked.

  13. I am literally at a loss for words. I don’t know how to express my deep need for one of those right now. I can’t express how truly amazing and flavorful and sweet they look and how giddy it makes me thinking of eating one! I just have no words:)

  14. Julie says:

    What amazing flavors! Brioche is on my Top 100 list of things to make! Love bread pudding and this one really looks like a winner.

  15. Joanne says:

    omg, just put a pan of these out for the construction workers and I’m certain they’ll be ever grateful and oblige you with the sunshine issue!

  16. The brioche alone sounded amazing, but adding it to these cute individual bread pudding muffins?? Genius!

  17. Adrienne says:

    This is such a cool idea! If you don’t mind I might make a few recipes from these ladies as well 😀 Also these bread puddings look incredible. Can never say no to a good bread pudding!

  18. This is such a creative bread pudding combination! I love that you did individual servings, too. I realized last summer when they did construction outside my window I had the same issue, and I figured I should lock the windows so they didn’t pop inside.

  19. jenna laughs says:

    Beautiful, Joanne! I have yet to master the art of a good brioche, but will keep trying. This is a great way to use the loaves that don’t quite work out.

  20. OohLookBel says:

    I love your train-of-thought posts. Almost as much as I love your photos and recipes. This one is gorgeous, so clever to cook the puddings in a muffin tin.

  21. Luigi says:

    Another amazing blog post! “I got myself into a tither” I am not going to ask what that means. lol. 🙂

  22. If it’s possible to make a bread pudding look ‘summery’ this is it! It sounds delicious with the chocolate mixed in which is my favorite kind of bread pudding – chocolate. What a great way to have your air conditioning and beat it too 🙂

  23. Wow. I love blackberry season. I think we may have been thinking similarly last night since I whipped up a blackberry pie. This looks amazing. I really should start baking bread again. If I needed a reason this would be it.

  24. These look awesome but I don’t know if I’d have the heart to let that magnificent brioche get stale to make pudding. I think I’d just eat the entire thing immediately!

  25. I think you’ve convinced me that pain brioche will be my next bread-making endeavor. The part where you say that every bite tastes like it’s already buttered is what sold me. I think I’ll make 2 loaves and let one get stale so that I can follow it up with your marvellous bread pudding. Three cheers for Julia + Joanne!

  26. So sad your sunshine is going to be taken away! Hopefully you’ll still get at least a little. AC makes me cold, too. I love the flavors in this bread pudding. You do such a good job with picky great combinations of flavors.

  27. I have the same hot-cold cycle with airconditioners too. But it’s FREEZING here in Brisbane, and this bread looks perfect for my very-much-needed comfort cold food. I love the look of those beautiful blueberries studied throughout it.

  28. Sometimes I think bread pudding is strictly a winter thing. And then I look at your blog and hear my belly rumble and I know how very wrong I am. Love your oven and a/c combination!!

  29. Kimberley says:

    Oh, right. Not only do you make a ridiculously amazing bread pudding, but you make the bread from scratch too. And it’s brioche. No biggie! 🙂

  30. Barbara says:

    Oh my. You fussed! Bread AND bread pudding. 🙂
    Love the bread and a pudding made with it can’t help but be fabulous!
    I see NYC has finally cooled down. Freaky stuff, weather.
    And I’m pleased to see Maida Heatter on that list…she’s my baking guru!

  31. Good solution to the a/c problem, and a delicious solution at that!

  32. I love your baking frenzies, Joanne. 🙂 I miss my apartment with its bank of trees that allowed me to now worry about closing my blinds. Now I’m in a house full of boys and really must think about these things. 🙂

  33. Joanne, are you baking again?! You are on a baking roll or a baking whirling dervish or something. And I thought I bake a lot. This looks unusual and divine and has such a complexity of flavors and textures. Mmmmmmmm…..

  34. Maria says:

    Oh yum! This is my kind of dessert!

  35. Pam says:

    I. WANT. THIS. NOW. Please? Pretty please with sugar on top? xoxo

  36. Shannon says:

    hehe, isn’t it funny the things we do in our apartments when no one is looking? i forget to close bathroom doors when i’m elsewhere. it’s a problem 😉 these look fantastic!!

  37. This bread pudding looks amazing. I love reading your little stories and how nicely you write them. I have started to like baking, but still not much. I love this brioche recipe, never had the bread itself and so don’t know, but they say it is the best bread for bread pudding which I love 🙂

  38. That Girl says:

    Seriously – I have SUCH a bad habit in closing blinds. Right now I’m walking around the apartment without pants and an open window. My husband would kill me.

  39. Mmm I love puddings of most sorts, and the blackberry lime combination sounds amazing!

  40. Gloria says:

    I love,I love, I love I love…… huggs gloria

  41. Kristen says:

    That brioche bread looks so delicious. I am with you about AC fanaticism. But when the internal temperature of my house matches that of my oven, there is no choice.

  42. I might change it up a hair (gasp) but I AM going to make this. Mark my words.

  43. aipi says:

    I am a recent blackberry convert n this sounds divine to me ~ can’t wait to try this!
    US Masala

  44. I adore blackberries and would just love to gobble down this creation of yours!

  45. Dear Joanne, I love Julia…her recipes never disappoint. This sounds and looks delish!
    BTW…I am not crazy about A/C either…I agree..first you are cold..turn it off and then you are hot..a vicious cycle. Have a wonderful and blessed weekend. Catherine xo

  46. Bob says:

    Sweet merciful crap, kid, those look amazing. I want three, right now. And three more for breakfast. Heh.

  47. Michelle says:

    I love that these are baked in muffin tins, making them all mini and perfect!

  48. That sounds so interesting , 50 women for 50 weeks , wowowow!
    And am so looking forward!
    The start of is wonderfully warm and i know this aint happening but would love for some right NOW.
    am having my morning coffee , have skipped the gym and my taste buds tell me i can eat all i want (and then work my butt with the cardio videos and power yoga 🙂 )
    Wonderful weekend sweet Jo!

  49. Swathi says:

    Love this blackberry limebread pudding, simple brioche recipe is amazing. Love to see 50 recipes from that famous 50 women.

  50. Amy says:

    I’m an air conditioning gal, I am. I couldn’t live without it. Which is odd, considering I like the heat. But… Paul’s car has air but it’s been broken for a few years. Doesn’t bother him one bit. Even when it’s 95 outside. It bothers me that it doesn’t bother him. Our relationship is so complex 😉

    Now, my parents house, on the other hand, is like a freezer box. My Dad is always hot and would never think of not running the air. So there’s my dad in shorts and short-sleeved shirt…with my mom wearing a parka. In the summertime.

    Baking solves all problems, no?

  51. That sounds like a fun project, and you sure started it off with a great recipe! Julia’s Brioche is a classic. 🙂 Those little bread puddings look delicious as well- I love the blackberry topping!

  52. So loving all these recipes in the blog word with fresh fruits!! Looks so yummy.I love berries & pudding is comfort food for me! I feel cold when AC is running & feel hot when it is not- too irritating 🙂

  53. Johanna GGG says:

    ouch – bread in the middle of summer – I am just feeling like baking bread now winter has well and truly hit (though it is sunny enough to have the door open this afternoon – but bread pudding pushes all the right buttons – sounds divine – please let it appear in my kitchen soon

  54. theUngourmet says:

    I was watching the today show yesterday and heard about your heat wave. I hate air conditioning too. Too cold, too hot. I feel ya!

    Yum! I’m loving this individual bread pudding recipe. I’m in blackberry heaven! ;D

  55. These are absolutely mouthwatering. I love that blackberry and lime combination. 😉

  56. daphne says:

    ah, THE blackberry! Not just a mobile but a delicious fruit that made it to a pudding. I love how you used baking as a de-stresser. Nothing beats whipping a batch of muffins or these awesome pudding. Outstanding.

  57. great idea I love the lime addition! I thought I was following you, forgive me, I am now!

  58. marla says:

    Air conditioning stresses me out too. So do people outside my window when I need privacy. These mini bread puddings are however beyond wonderful. Hope you are having a fab weekend. I am gonna fo Facebook these beauties now…xo

  59. This look soo good! The blackberries are naturally beautiful, of course. Just read your story, and love it. I see too many doctors let their health go to the wayside because they don’t make time for fueling their body with wholesome food. But I’d like it if my doctors were actually healthy when I went to see them!

  60. Martha (MM) says:

    This looks excellent Joanne! Brought back memories of when I lived in a different area of Florida and had the back of my 5 acre property lined with blackberry bushes, you have no idea how much I miss that! Have a great weekend 🙂

  61. sweetlife says:

    50 weeks of goregous creations from wonderful women, oh joanne it’s really too much!! blackberry and lime go so weel together, yummy!

    sweetlife

  62. Kim says:

    I heard about this new food event over on Mary’s site and I’m really excited about following you ladies along! So fun. Brioche is so amazing and I’m convinced it’s one of the only breads that belongs in a bread pudding. The flavors in this look amazing.

    Can’t wait to see which lady you celebrate next week.

  63. Omg, i’m exactly the same way! It gets so cold with the AC constantly blasting. And when I bake in the winter when the heat is already on in my apt, it feels like I’m actually in the oven. Oh how I wish nyc apartments had thermostats 🙂

    P.S. Saw your comment on my blog and we should meet up! Check over there for contact info.

  64. Marvelous creation Joanne. Your blueberry and lime brioche pudding looks delectable!

  65. Corina says:

    These little bread puddings look so good. I love the jam on them and I think they’d be great warm with a bit of custard or icecream

  66. Nadji says:

    C’est très bon. BRAVO!
    See soon.

  67. Blackberry is expensive over here. I am drooling looking at your bread pudding. Simply awesome!!

  68. Anonymous says:

    I have had the brioche bread recipe for a long time. I”m wondering how you expect it to last long enough to get stale!. This stuff is beyond delicious.
    But, oh, the bread pudding looks amazing..

  69. Chris says:

    I only like eating blackberries by themselves, dipped in sugar. That’s because as a child, my sister and I would pick blackberries from the drainage ditches of my grandmother’s corn/soybean/tobacco farm in NC. She’d rinse them for us, sprinkle them with sugar and we’d sit on the cinder block porch snacking on them. Sigh…..

  70. Julie says:

    haha i bet your future hubs is in that research center across the way. and turning up the oven is SO worth it because the smells that come from your apt probably make him love you even more 😉

  71. Nina says:

    Joanne, this is brilliant! Julia would be proud!

  72. Miriam says:

    I’ve gotta make me some of that, like now! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  73. kankana says:

    Your writing is so wonderful and funny 🙂 It’s always fun reading the stories. These bread pudding seriously looks delicious.

  74. AC doesn’t exist in the homes where I live. We have ceiling fans. That’s it. There are a handful of days when I have to go to movie, just to sit in AC. As for this bread pudding– swoon! What a beautiful bread pudding– and that bread’s not half bad to look at either!

  75. Ada says:

    Julia Child is awesome. You are awesome. Bread pudding is awesome. Sorry, my mental capacities are limitied right now, but, seriously, this dish looks amazing! Hope you’re having a fun weekend:)

  76. Reeni says:

    Bread that tastes like it’s already been buttered? I’m in! Bread pudding? I’m in! Baking with the air conditioner on? I’m in! My Dad bought me one just for the kitchen – he was afraid I would stop baking again like last summer and he would miss out on his treats. I have never made a Julia Child recipe. Not a one. But I have been wanting to make brioche – so this will have to be it!

  77. What a great idea to cook the pudding in a muffin tins. Lovely color and look super delicious. It is quite difficult to get blackberry here so might have to substitute with blueberry.

  78. oh blackberry! Your bread pudding must have tasted HEAVENLY! Actually the bread itself looks already terrific without anything else.

  79. Vivienne says:

    you must be baking all day long in order to maintain the right temperature 😉

    brioche is a big love of mine…hmmmm already buttered bread <3

  80. Erica says:

    Wow! Love your pictures and that bread pudding is making me hungry!Looks fantastic!

  81. Lori says:

    I can’t decide what I like the best about this, blackberries, lime, brioche or the those cute little single serving bread buddings. What a great combination! Our blackberries will be ripe in a week or so and perfect for this!

  82. Beth says:

    These would be the best Thursday night snack ever! I love the combination of lime and blackberries. And what a great idea to cook with the 50 top women this year.

  83. Claudie says:

    Brioche is great, but giving it a little color can only make it better! That’s exactly what you’ve done by turning it into bread pudding with those tasty blackberries and lime! As usual, I love your creation 🙂

  84. Oh my, how decadent! I love that you are baking through the grande dames of cookery.
    We realized our air was kaput on the first really hot day. On the last day of the heat wave, it was fixed. Sigh. But running it for a few hours took more water out of the house than running the dehumidifier constantly for that week. Amazing. It was seriously wet in here. I was getting mouldy. 😉

  85. Oh my gosh, my a.c. has been on since April. 😉 I blame it on working in a freezing O.R. all day long, I’m accostumed to living in a meat locker. 😉
    Can you believe I’ve never had bread pudding? I absolutely adore berries however so I’m on this!

  86. Kelly says:

    Oh Joanne… I am so excited to try this bread pudding. One of my very favourite desserts of all time is a lemon lime pudding that is reminiscent of this one however, your blackberries will take it to a whole other level. YUM!!

  87. This looks SO good! And I just saw your “on a stick” review, omg it looks incredible!

  88. Cara says:

    After reading this, and again realizing how alike we are, I feel the need to give you another tip for making your future married life easier: get a car with dual AC/heat controls. Trust me on this one. I don’t know how we went so long without it. Actually, I do. He turned it on, I turned it off, he turned it on, I fell asleep, I shivered so hard I woke myself, I turned it off. Repeat. Now, if there had been bread pudding like this in the mix, we may have been able to compromise.

  89. Mo'Betta says:

    yum, yum, and more yum!

  90. tigerfish says:

    The bread pudding looks gorgeous! Shall I eat this in an air-conditioned room? ;p

  91. Carolyn Jung says:

    My fave blackberries? Buttery brioche? Bread pudding? AND Julia Child? I am soooo there. This is a combo of all my favorite things.

  92. Esi says:

    I’m so loving these individual puddings with spring berries. Lovely.

  93. Nicole, RD says:

    I just drooled on my keyboard…a lot. Looks AMAZING, Joanne!

  94. Kerstin says:

    Wow, I think I would just eat these straight out of the pan -yum!

  95. grace says:

    the only time the ac stresses me out is when i have to install it or take it down–that’s pretty nerve-wracking, lest i drop it out the window. 🙂
    lovely puddings, joanne.

  96. Eliana says:

    OMG – this could not look more delicious Joanne! I’m starting to feel away about you making all these wonderful desserts and not inviting me over for even ONE bite 🙁

  97. These look amazing!!! I have been away too long…I thought I had my blog post induced drooling under control, apparently I do not 🙂

  98. Marisa says:

    Oh man, I don’t even like bread pudding, but this? I’m all over it!

  99. Lynn says:

    This looks and sounds amazing, Joanne. I love bread pudding, and the extra additions of fruit and chocolate chips put it in another category. Have you ever tried rice pudding with choc. chips? Another great idea 🙂 Glad your air conditioning dilemma worked out.

  100. Oh brioche, is there anything better in life?! Yours looks completely perfect. I am in love with that crust.

  101. Diana says:

    I love blackberries. This looks great.

  102. Anonymous says:

    may i ask if everyone is baking the brioche at the lower temp of 350 degrees or have some of you managed the 430 degrees without your burning as well ??? just some ovens run much hotter than others ~~

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