1-1 1/2 pound loaf of Brioche or Challah bread cubed (I use fresh)
1 pound pitted fresh cherries halved
1 cup ground almonds or almond meal (plus extra)
3 cups whole milk
1 cup dark agave nectar (instead of sugar)
5 eggs room temp and beaten
1 teaspoon saffron
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 teaspoon ground cardamom
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (plus extra to grease the baking dish)
small pinch salt
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and butter the inside of your favorite baking dish. I prefer something smaller than 9x13 with tall sides.
- In a large bowl, add the cubed pieces of bread along with the ground almond, cinnamon, and cardamom. Set aside.
- In a heavy bottom sauce pot, begin slowly heating the milk. Add the agave nectar and saffron. Bring to just under a simmer… scald the milk. Let the saffron steep in the milk releasing flavor and color. Add the 4 tablespoons of butter and let it melt in, along with a pinch of salt.
- In another bowl add eggs and beat slightly. Take the scalded milk and add slowly to the eggs mixing vigorously… temper the eggs.
- pour the egg/milk mixture into the cubed bread and spice mixture. Mix in well and let the custard soak in. I actually prefer the mixture really broken up… not in cubed chunks.. so don't feel you have to be gentle with it. Fold in the cherries evenly.
- Pour the pudding into your prepared baking dish... tap down on your surface to even out the mixture, and to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle the top with more ground almond.
- Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until it has puffed up in the oven with a slight slight jiggle in the center.
- Remove from the oven and let rest before serving. This is best served warm, with either a side of ice cream, or homemade almond flavored whipped cream. Enjoy!