5-6 glazed yeast doughnuts, preferably day-old (may substitute enough doughnut holes, halved, to cover the bottom of an 8-inch square pan, about 12 ounces)
3 large eggs, left out at room temperature for about 10 minutes
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1½ cups whole milk
½ cup fresh blueberries
¾ cup fresh raspberries
½ cup fresh blackberries
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Have an 8-inch square baking pan at hand.
Cut each doughnut in half (creating two semicircles), then cut each half into 3 wedges (for a total of 6 pieces per doughnut). Arrange the doughnut pieces in the baking pan to cover the bottom in a single layer.
Whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in a medium bowl, then whisk in the milk; this will form the custard.
Scatter the berries around the doughnut pieces, tucking some of them into the nooks and crannies. Pour the egg mixture on top and use a flexible spatula to press and submerge the doughnut pieces and some of the berries under the liquid; allow some berries to poke out. Let it sit for 10 minutes, pressing the doughnut pieces into the liquid every 5 minutes.
Bake 45 minutes, until the custard has set and the doughnut pieces sticking out are browned. Cool for 15 minutes, then serve warm, with vanilla ice cream, if desired.
Serves 12 to 16.
Cook's notes: This dessert has the crustiness of French toast and the berry gooeyness of pie. You can use any combination of berries that totals about 1¾ cups. Serve with vanilla ice cream. The pudding can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Nutrition values per serving (assumes 16): 150 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated), 19 g carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 14 g sugar, 3 g protein, 45 mg cholesterol, 50 mg sodium.
Paula Shoyer, baking teacher and author of "The Kosher Baker" (Brandeis, 2010) and the upcoming "The Holiday Kosher Baker" (Sterling, 2013)