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Baking Time: 30 Minutes / Serves 6

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature, for dishes

3 cups small (1/4-inch) bread cubes (challah, brioche, or country white)
¼ cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (only if not using challah or brioche)

Pastry Cream:

Seeds scraped from ½ vanilla bean
2 cups half-and-half
2/3 cup (4 ½ ounces) granulated sugar
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
6 egg yolks
1 tablespoon cornstarch

½ dry pint (1 cup) raspberries

Preheat the oven to 350? F. Butter six 5-ounce ramekins.

Spread the bread cubes in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Once the bread is cool, toss it with the melted butter and sugar (if using). Set aside.

To make the pastry cream, put the vanilla bean seeds in to a saucepan. Add the half-and-half and vanilla pod and cook over medium-low heat until hot but not boiling. Separately, whisk the sugar and the salt into the egg yolks and continue whisking until slightly thickened and lighter in color. Add the cornstarch and whisk until combined. Slowly pour half of the hot liquid into the yolk mixture, stirring constantly until well blended. Pour the yolk mixture into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and stir frequently until cool.
Distribute half of the bread cubes among the prepared ramekins. Pour the pastry cream over the bread cubes, then put the berries atop the pastry cream. Top with the remaining bread cubes. Bake for 15 minutes, or until tops have browned and the berries bleed slightly. Cool to room temperature.

Recipe courtesy "Rustic Fruit Desserts," written by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson, Ten Speed Press, 2009