Vera Tong

103 West 77th Street
New York, NY
(212) 362-3800

Pastry Chef Vera Tong

Dovetail | New York

Tong’s brioche bread pudding, a glorious ode to breakfast flavors topped with caramelized bananas and served with maple syrup-bacon garnish, will turn the best of friends into enemies when faced with the battle for the last bite. It’s on the homey end of a dessert spectrum that runs from delicate (a palate cleanser of rose petal and aloe gelee) to decadent (the bread pudding being a perfect example). Her desserts are mature—one incorporates avocado, chocolate, and strawberries—and completely approachable; at their best they feature exciting flavor combinations in accessible forms. Her current favorite flavor combo is strawberries, cheesecake, and beer, a combination which sums up her ability to think outside the box while keeping it approachable and fun. Before joining Fraser at Compass, Tong worked with Pino Luongo at Le Madri, with Cesare Casella at Beppe, and as a corporate pastry chef for Sushi Samba.

Brioche Bread Pudding with Bananas, Bacon Brittle, and Vanilla-Rum Ice Cream
Pastry Chef Vera Tong of Dovetail – New York, NY
Adapted by

Yield: 22 Servings


    Vanilla-Rum Ice Cream:
  • 1 liter milk
  • 3 bourbon vanilla beans, split and scraped
  • 60 grams non-fat powdered milk
  • 60 grams glucose
  • 40 grams trimoline
  • 150 grams heavy cream
  • 200 grams yolks
  • 195 grams sugar
  • 8 grams ice cream stabilizer
  • ½ cup dark rum

    Brioche Bread Pudding:
  • 1½ loaves brioche
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 5 eggs
  • 5 yolks
  • 1 bourbon vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • Frangipane

    Bacon Brittle:
  • 28 grams butter
  • 204 grams sugar
  • 52 grams light corn syrup
  • 75 grams water
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup apple smoked bacon, rendered and chopped

    Honey Tuile:
  • 57 grams butter
  • 227 grams 10x sugar
  • 227 grams honey
  • 62 grams egg whites
  • 34 grams water
  • 281 all purpose flour

    To Assemble and Serve:
  • Bananas
  • Sugar (for caramelizing)

For the Vanilla-Rum Ice Cream:

Scald milk; remove from heat and add vanilla. Cover for 15 minutes to steep. Bring milk back to a boil and add milk powder glucose, trimoline and heavy cream. Mix sugar with stabilizer and add to yolks. Temper milk into yolks. Strain through chinois and chill in ice bath; add rum. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Spin in ice cream machine.

For the Brioche Bread Pudding:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut brioche to 1-inch cubes and set aside. In a bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients and add to brioche and allow to soak in refrigerator overnight. Grease half sheet pan and coat evenly with sugar. Using a spider, extract bread out of custard mixture and spread into an even layer no higher than the rim of sheet pan. Spread evenly with frangipane and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until custard is set. Chill and cut into 2-inch x 3-inch rectangles.

For the Bacon Brittle:
In a medium saucepot, cook butter, sugar, corn syrup and water to light golden brown. Remove from heat and add baking soda and salt, mixing constantly. Add bacon and spread thin on silplat and allow to cool completely. Robocoupe to a coarse powder. Store in an airtight container.

For the Honey Tuile:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cream butter, sugar, honey, egg whites and water in a stand-mixer. Add sifted flour in 3 parts until smooth. Spread some batter on half Silpat and comb with chocolate comb horizontally. On another half Silpat, spread some batter and comb vertically. Freeze both Silpats for 1 hour and adhere Silpats together. Bake for 5 minutes and remove top Silpat and cut into 2-inch squares. Cover with Silpat again and bake for an additional 6-7 minutes until deep golden brown. Cool then break along precut squares. Store in airtight container.

To Assemble and Serve:
Slice bananas lengthwise and trim to fit neatly on the top of the bread pudding serving. Place bananas on bread pudding, sprinkle with sugar, and caramelize with a blow torch. Top with a honey tuile; serve bacon brittle and a quenelle of vanilla ice cream on the side.





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   Published: September 2008