Nectarine and Cherry Bread Pudding
10 slices homemade-style white bread, crusts removed
4 tablespoons butter, melted plus additional for brushing the fruit
3 nectarines, pitted and thinly sliced
1 cup pitted cherries, halved
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 egg yolks
vanilla ice cream
Preheat an oven to 400°F.
Brush 1 side of the bread slices with the butter and halve the bread diagonally. Toast the bread, buttered side up on a baking sheet in the oven until the edges are golden, 8 minutes. Spread a single layer of nectarine slices on the bottom of a buttered 2-quart gratin dish. Top with toast slices and alternate with the remaining nectarines and cherries, ending with nectarines on the top. Brush the fruit with the additional melted butter.
Reduce the oven to 350°F.
In a saucepan, combine the milk, the cream, the sugar and vanilla bean and heat the mixture over moderate heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is hot. Remove the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the hot milk mixture. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and whole eggs until they are combined. Add the milk mixture in a slow steady stream, whisking, and whisk the mixture just until combined. Pour the mixture carefully over the bread and fruit. Put the dish in a baking pan and add enough hot water to the pan to reach half-way up the sides of the dish. Bake in the oven until the custard is just set, 20 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar and serve with ice cream.