Monday, February 3, 2014

G-chat Avoid-the-Super-Bowl Bread Pudding

It's teevoz, back again! 

Last night was the Super Bowl. Yawn. Daughter MVL and I had been talking about making bread pudding some time and last night seemed like the right night to do it while we waited for Downton Abbey. So I emailed her a basic recipe and we tweaked it via gchat as we were parallel-preparing this easy and tasty antidote to the endless winter in our kitchens.

It is light and fluffy and seriously delicious - and it makes the house smell divine as it bakes. The quantities are approximate, and you can vary the fresh fruits, breads, spices, dried fruits, substitute maple syrup for the sugar, etc - whatever you have in the house - experiment!  Just make sure there's enough liquid to thoroughly soak the bread. You could make a savory version too - I'd keep the apples and add onions, mushrooms, celery - baked stuffing without the turkey. 

Here is mine this morning - deflated a bit, and not as shiny, but trust me, this is delicious.

Challah Banana Apple Raisin Bread Pudding 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, rack at the middle level. Generously grease a 2 quart baking dish with softened butter, all sides, and set aside. 

In a big bowl, whisk together 3 eggs, 2 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp salt, some cinnamon, 1/2 cup sugar - I used light brown granulated because that's what I had. 

Whisk in 2-1/2 cups milk - preferably whole milk or a combination of half-and-half or cream and 1 or 2% milk - and a container of yogurt. The yogurt is not in the original recipe but I had accidentally opened a vanilla yogurt, so threw it in - would work with any flavor and adds to the creaminess. 

Add 3 ripe bananas, sliced, and 1/2 cup raisins, and 1 or 2 large cut-up apples into the egg mixture. 

Cut up a loaf of challah and/or other slightly old bread (about 16 oz) into roughly 1-1/2 inch pieces. (I had only four whole wheat challah rolls so also used half a loaf of 10 grain bread. - the challah gives the crust a nice shine, but the combo was fine. Add more bread if there's too much liquid, or another egg if not enough.)

Fold the bread into the wet ingredients and stir gently but thoroughly. Let stand for at least 10 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the egg mixture. Stir occasionally to assure that the liquid is getting to all of the bread. 

Pile the mixture into the greased pan, and don't worry if it mounds up - when it bakes it will puff up at least an inch above the pan sides but it comes together and won't spill over, at least ours didn't. You could put the pan on a cookie sheet to be sure there's no mess. 

Generously dot the top with butter, cinnamon, and a tablespoon of sugar. 

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees in middle of oven until cake tester or knife comes out clean - at least 60 minutes, maybe 75. 

Cool a bit and enjoy it warm - with a scoop of ice cream, a drizzle of heavy cream, or just as it is to really get the flavors. Can briefly warm up in the microwave if there are any leftovers - or cold right out of the pan is great too. 

Even for breakfast.

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