Andy and Jackie King, artisanal bakers based in New England, have certainly made a splash with their perfectly imperfect hand-made breads and baked goods at their headquarters cafe and bakery.
After opening up in 2006, A&J King quickly established themselves as a go-to for beautiful, well-made breads, utilizing traditional methods that match the historic ambience of Salem, MA, where they are located.
Andy and Jackie are no one trick ponies, also offering up delicious pastries, signature sandwiches and more in their full-service cafe.
The magic starts in the kitchen, where each step of the baking process is performed by hand, from kneading the dough to cutting the beautiful patterns on each loaf that are brought out during the baking process.
In 2013, Andy and Jackie published their first cookbook, Baking by Hand (MacMillan), further elaborating their philosophy on baking and the quality of craft they live by. They’ve shared with us their favorite recipe for the holiday season – bread pudding!
Bread pudding is one of Andy and Jackie’s favorite things to make at the bakery, and they’ve been making them since Day One! It is simple, can be adapted to whatever fruits or flavors are in season (or whichever ones you have one hand), tastes great hot, cold, or room temperature. There’s not a lot of science to it. You need a bread product to soak up your custard, and you need enough custard to soak into the bread. That’s pretty much it!
Pro tip — make sure to use stale bread (or stale it yourself by leaving it on your counter for a few hours, as fresh bread tends to fall apart when absorbing the liquid). Once you get the idea of how to assemble bread pudding, you’ll be off and running with your own unique flavor combinations.
1 lb stale croissant, brioche, challah, or other enriched dough, 1” dice
3 large eggs
7 oz whole milk
7 oz half and half
2/3 cup sugar
6 oz roasted, pureed pumpkin or canned pumpkin
1.25 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Whisk eggs, milk, half and half, sugar, pumpkin puree and spices in a large bowl until combined and smooth.
Add the bread, and toss with your hands or spoon until all the bread is coated with the custard. Let it sit at least 30 minutes (but no longer than an hour) stirring occasionally.
Put all of the bread and custard mixture into a greased circular 8″ pan or paper mold.
Bake at 375˚F until golden brown and it feels firm when pressed, about 45 minutes. When cooled, drizzle with maple sugar icing.
Maple Sugar Icing
(Whisk all ingredients together until smooth and lump free)
6.5 oz Maple Sugar
2 oz Confectioner’s Sugar
2 oz Half and Half
Learn more about Andy and Jackie at www.AJkingbakery.com.