Monday, January 31, 2011

Some Nights You Need Dessert

Bread pudding is a welcome canvas for leftovers. We have a freezer full of bread, eggs and milk in the fridge, a pile of apples and an unusually (for us) well stocked bar. Since the hazelnut bread isn't James' favorite for sandwiches I figured it was the perfect starting point for a custardy dessert. I removed the crusts and cut the bread into 1 inch chunks and toasted them in the oven for about 15 minutes at 350º. Meanwhile I soaked 1/2 cup of raisins in a splash of boubon. Next I melted two TB of butter in a skillet and added about a cup (well a heavy cup) of 1/2" peeled apple chunks, along with 1/4 cup of brown sugar ( we've run out of white sugar and I was determined to make this dessert with what we had on hand). I sautéed the apples until they were tender (about 15 minutes) added 1/2 tsp cinnamon and about 1/4 cup of bourbon and stirred over moderate heat until the bourbon made a sticky syrup (less than a minute). I poured 4 cups of milk (well a mixture of milk and cream -- that is, after all, that's what we had in the house) into a large bowl and added in the toasted bread cubes, the plumped raisins, and the caramel apples. In a separate bowl I beat 3 eggs with 1/2 cup of brown sugar (here I would have preferred white), 1 TB of vanilla, 1/2 tsp of allspice and another pinch of cinnamon. I stirred the eggs into the bread crumb mixture and poured my bread pudding in the making into a baking dish (7" x 11" I think). I drizzled the top with about 3 TB of melted butter and pre-baked the pudding for 50 minutes at 300º, then sprinkled the top with a drizzle of brown sugar and during dinner let dessert heat up in the oven (and crisp on top from the sugar sprinkle) for another 25 minutes or so at 350º. The result was soft and custardy and definitely alcoholic. With a dollop of creme fraiche it was a perfect winter dessert.

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