This dish not only makes great left-overs-it’s made from them as well. A dose of spicy ginger adds a little kick to the recipe, which otherwise adheres to the traditional version.
2 cups milk
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
10 – 1/2-inch slices stale or lightly toasted bread
2 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
3 ripe pears
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger, plus additional for topping
1/2 cup blanched almonds, finely ground in a food processor
Combine the milk and vanilla in a small saucepan, and heat until scalding.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, and 1/2 cup sugar until light, about 1 minute. Add about 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk the egg mixture into the rest of the hot milk; strain through a fine sieve to remove any lumps. Put the cubed bread in a large bowl and pour the custard over it. Let the bread soak for about 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Arrange half of the soaked bread cubes in a single layer over the bottom of the dish. Peel, core, and dice the pears and spread them over the bread in the dish. Sprinkle the ginger and then the ground almonds evenly over the pears. Spread the rest of the bread cubes evenly over the top, making sure to include all of the custard. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar and some more ginger over the top of the pudding and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until golden brown.
Serve warm with cream or ice cream.
For leftovers: Simply eat cold, or cover and reheat for 10 to 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven. For a really decadent treat, cut the cold pudding into thin slices, fry in butter until golden brown, and top with powdered sugar.