Bread Pudding Blitzkrieg: Fuego Bistro vs. Cornish Pasty Co.
|Chocolate bread and butter pudding at Cornish Pasty|
The Setup: Owner Dean Thomas, a culinary school grad and native of Cornwall, grew up on Cornish Pasties -- the savory, hand-held turnovers eaten by the tin miners of the region. But at his two Cornish pasty outlets in the Southeast Valley (one in Tempe, the other in Mesa), he goes well beyond the dietary scope of his ancestors, stuffing his pasties with anything and everything, including bangers and mash, turkey and dressing, carne adovada and lamb vindaloo. But as good as they are (and the pastry is first-rate), his house-made soups and desserts are my favorite things on the menu.
The Good: The dish is called Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding, which is enough right there to make my mouth water. It begins with homemade bread, which is baked in a chocolate brandy sauce until the coarse sugar-sprinkled top gets a bit crunchy. The inside is warm and oozy, the texture of the pudding more like an ultra-soft cake or brownie. You can eat it with ice cream, but don't be a putz. Have it with creme Anglaise (the sweet, elegant custard named for the English), served in a tiny silver pitcher. That's the Brit way. This is everything bread pudding should be -- warm, comforting and delicious. Not too sweet, not too heavy and not too gummy.
The Bad: I should add, I've eaten this bread pudding on two or three occasions at the Mesa store, and it's always been stellar. This version at the Tempe location has a firmer crust and a more cake-like texture. It's not quite as good as the Mesa version.
The Price: $6.
The Verdict: If you've made it this far, it's pretty clear who the winner is: Cornish Pasty by a country mile.