Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Raspberry PB&J bread pudding is double the comfort

Comfort food has taken on a whole new meaning. In the very same dish you can experience not only the flavor of that old-time favorite peanut and butter sandwich, but also the lusciousness of bread pudding, the classic comfort food on a plate.

We created a recipe using both these delightful components for Project PB&J, a blogger cooking contest celebrating National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day, which was celebrated on April 2. Taste testers have given this recipe a Five-Star rating. “The bread pudding tastes just like a peanut butter cookie,” commented one taster, “and the raspberry sauce is a luscious topping. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Many other delectable PB&J creations have been posted this week on the Once Upon a Loaf blog, which is a must-see for anyone who loves to bake bread.

Raspberry PB & J Bread Pudding with Raspberry Sauce

1 cup (or to taste) chunky peanut butter

1 12-ounce jar seedless red raspberry jam

6 to 8 slices day-old bread (enough to make 4 cups cubed PB&J sandwiches)

3 large eggs

1/3 cup sugar

1-1/2 to 2 cups whole milk (depending on whether you like your bread pudding firm or custardy)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Spread bread slices thickly with peanut butter and jam. Put together as for PB&J sandwiches, then cut them into cubes. (Any peanut butter or jam that escapes in the cutting can be added to the bread in the baking pan. Or, do with it what you will …)

Spray a 1-1/2-quart casserole dish (or 9-inch square glass baking pan) with cooking spray. Place bread cubes in baking dish. In large bowl, whisk eggs and sugar together for about 1 minute or until sugar is almost dissolved. Whisk in milk and vanilla extract. Pour liquid mixture over bread evenly, pushing down bread into mixture. Let sit in fridge about 1/2 hour for bread to absorb liquid. Bake in preheated 350-degree F. oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean, and tops of bread are nicely browned. Cool on wire rack.

Before serving, melt remainder of raspberry jam either in small pan on stove, or in microwave. Serve bread pudding slightly warm, drizzled with raspberry jam “sauce.” Top with whipped cream or ice cream if you’d like.

(Recipe created by Portia Little © 2012)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Make Halloween bread pudding with trick-or-treat candy

Those Halloween goblins will soon be knocking at your door for trick-or-treat candy. If you bought more treats than you need, there may be some left over to munch on yourself. Or, for a fun and creative way to use them up, chop up some of the chocolate bars and add them to a basic bread pudding. We added a splash of brandy to the mix, then stirred in some dried cherries. After it baked to a nice golden brown on top, we served it with a dollop of whipped cream. Happy Halloween!

Halloween Trick-or-Treat Bread Pudding

2 or 3 slices bread, spread lightly with butter or margarine, and cubed (about 2 cups)
8 to 10 mini chocolate bars, chopped into chunks
1/2 cup or so dried cherries
1 cup milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
2 large eggs, beaten with fork
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons apricot or other brandy (or vanilla extract0
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine cubed bread, candy chunks from 8 mini candy bars, and dried cherries in cooking-sprayed 1-1/2-quart baking dish. Scald milk and half-and-half. In bowl, combine eggs, sugar, salt, brandy, and cinnamon. Add scalded milk slowly to egg mixture, stirring to combine. Pour liquid over bread mixture in pan. Sprinkle top with remaining candy chunks. Bake in preheated 350-degree F. oven 50 to 60 minutes, or until firm and browned on top. Serve warm or at room temp topped with whipped cream or ice cream. Serves 4 to 6.
(© 2009 Recipe by Portia Little)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bread pudding with bourbon sauce recipe comes from New Orleans

When it comes to bread puddings, you can’t beat New Orleans – theirs are among the very best. So when our friend Pepe, who resides in that great city, sent us a recipe for bread pudding topped with a rich bourbon sauce, we were off to find the ingredients.

Sure enough, there in the freezer sat some Italian bread just waiting to be included in a wonderful dessert. As we waited for the bread to thaw, we gathered the other ingredients – sugar, milk, raisins, and pecans, along with the stuff that gives it such a great aroma, the vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. We found some bourbon to use for the sauce, although we could have subbed some other spirit such as brandy or rum if necessary. Also, we combined the bread, raisins, and pecans in the baking dish before pouring on the liquid.

The result was a nice, puffy, browned pudding that will make a terrific dessert for tonight. In fact, if I were to choose the very best bread pudding of all, this one would rank way at the top of the list. And it has the rich flavor of great bread puddings without all the heavy cream, eggs and high-fat ingredients.

This recipe was adapted by Joe Barkson and posted to his Worldwide Recipes site from a recipe by Paul Prudhomme from his book, "Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen." Thanks Pepe for giving us the heads up on this one!

Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon (7 ml) vanilla extract
1 teaspoon (5 ml) freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (60 ml) butter, melted
2 cups (500 ml) milk
1/2 cup (125 ml) raisins
1/2 cup (125 ml) coarsely chopped pecans
5 cups (1.25 L) very stale French or Italian bread, with crust, cut into cubes
1 recipe bourbon sauce (see below)

Using electric mixer or wire whisk, beat eggs until extremely frothy, about 3 minutes with electric mixer, about 6 by hand. Add remaining ingredients except bread and beat until thoroughly mixed. Place bread cubes in greased oven-proof baking dish and pour egg mixture over them. Toss bread to coat with egg mixture and allow to sit at room temperature for 45 minutes, until virtually all liquid is absorbed. Bake in preheated 300F (150C) for 45 minutes, then raise oven temperature to 424F (220C) and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until pudding is well browned and has puffed up. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature with bourbon sauce. Serves 8.

Bourbon Sauce
1/2 cup (125 ml) butter
1 cup (250 ml) sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
2-3 tablespoons (30-45 ml) bourbon, brandy, rum, or spirit of your choice

Combine butter, sugar, and egg in small saucepan and cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens - do not boil. Remove from heat and stir in bourbon. Serve immediately or refrigerate and reheat before serving. Makes about 2 cups (500 ml).
(Adapted by Joe Barkson’s recipe site, Worldwide Recipes, from "Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen" By Paul Prudhomme.)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Brioche bread pudding is topped with rich vanilla sauce

I don’t know about you, but sometimes this dismal weather can get to you. We’ve had more than our share of dank, dreary, cool New England days this spring. A sure cure for me is a wonderful dessert such as today’s bread pudding made with chunks of rich brioche, heavy cream (don’t skimp on the good stuff, we can find our bathing suit bodies later) and the creamy European-style butter, Plugra®. I discovered this rich butter recently and I don’t know how I’ve managed to live so long without it. It's great for baking because it has a lower water content than regular butter. Use unsalted for baking and cooking, and the salted version at the table as a spread.

Top this decadent bread pudding with a vanilla butter sauce, also made with Plugra® and a whole cup of white wine, and you’re in bread pudding heaven. And thanks to my good friend Risa Golding in New Jersey for sharing this recipe.


Brioche bread pudding:
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups half-and-half
4 ounces granulated sugar
16 ounces chopped brioche bread, 1/4-inch size (1 day old)
8 ounces Plugra® European-Style Butter, unsalted, melted
3 ounces brown sugar

Combine heavy cream, half-and-half, and granulated sugar and set aside.
Place chopped bread in buttered baking dish.
Pour prepared liquid mixture over bread and let soak for 1 hour.
Combine melted Plugra® butter and brown sugar; set aside.
Bake at 375 degrees F., covered, in a water bath (set baking dish in larger pan of very hot water) for 1 hour. After 30 minutes baking, brush top with melted butter and brown sugar sauce mixture. Continue baking for remaining 30 minutes, uncovered.

Plugra® vanilla butter sauce:
1 cup white wine
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pound Plugra® European-Style butter, unsalted, softened

In small saucepan, combine wine, sugar, and vanilla bean. Simmer to half; add heavy cream and reduce by half again. Immediately beat in half the Plugra® butter to form a creamy paste.
Over low heat, continue beating in a piece of butter at a time just as previous piece is almost fully incorporated. The sauce should have the consistency of a light hollandaise sauce.
To Serve: Spoon warm bread pudding into 3-ounce serving cups and top with sauce. Yield: 12 3-ounce servings.
(Recipe by Chef Dewey Losasso, Executive Chef/Co-Owner, North One 10 in Miami)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Brunch French toast features apples and cinnamon

It’s brunch season. Time to invite family and friends over for a meal that’s hearty but not too filling. Unless you want it to be, of course. It’s a relaxed way to entertain. Set out some of your favorite dishes such as quiche, colorful fresh fruit salad, scones, ham or sausage, and good coffee. And if you’re looking for some great dishes to serve, the new cookbook, “Gale Gand’s Brunch! 100 Fantastic Recipes for the Weekend’s Best Meal” is a terrific resource. Gand, the co-owner of Tru restaurant in Chicago, was also host of the Food Network’s “Sweet Dreams” show about baking that aired until 2008.

She says her recipe for Baked Cinnamon-Apple French Toast falls “somewhere between French toast and bread pudding,” She preps it the night before, so all she has to do in the morning is pop it in the oven. Mmmm, we can just smell the cinnamon …

6 medium apples (use an assortment)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up into small cubes, plus more for the baking dish
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 slices Texas toast (thick presliced white bread)
8 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 1/2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
Honey butter (1 stick unsalted room temperature butter with a pinch salt and 1 tablespoon honey beaten in)

Peel, core and cut apples into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Heat butter in saute pan over medium heat until it starts to foam. Add apples and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.Lightly toast bread. Cut toast slices in half to make triangles. Butter 9x13-inch baking dish and arrange bread in two rows, overlapping in dish.
Beat eggs in medium bowl; then whisk in granulated sugar, milk and vanilla to make a custard. Pour custard over bread triangles and spoon apples over top. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.The next day, heat oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover baking dish. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, until custard is set and doesn't shimmy when you shake pan. It will puff up and brown slightly. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving. Serve in squares or large spoonfuls, with honey butter. Makes 8 servings.
(Recipe from "Gale Gand's Brunch! 100 Fantastic Recipes for the Weekend's Best Meal," by Gale Gand with Christie Matheson)

Brunch sausage strata is packed with flavor

Turn up the heat for breakfast by serving a Mexican sausage strata that’s easy to prep the night before and bake in the morning. This dish caught my eye because of its colorful topping, which makes for an attractive serving – the salsa of your choice. With an eye toward healthful eating, this dish can be made with whole wheat bread, skim milk, and reduced fat cheese, without sacrificing any flavor. It comes from the folks at the Better Homes & Gardens recipe site, which offers up some good reasons to cook at home.


Nonstick cooking spray
5 slices white or whole wheat bread, cubed
6 ounces ground turkey sausage
3 large eggs
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup light dairy sour cream
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers (2 ounces)
1/3 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup salsa

Coat 9- or 10-inch quiche dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spread bread cubes evenly in dish. Set aside. Crumble turkey sausage into medium skillet; cook until brown. Drain off fat. Pat with paper toweling to remove excess fat. Sprinkle cooked sausage over bread cubes in quiche dish.
In medium mixing bowl beat together eggs, milk, and sour cream. Stir in Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses. Pour egg mixture over sausage in quiche dish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Uncover and bake in 325-degree F. oven for 35-40 minutes, or until center is set and top is golden brown. Remove from oven. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before cutting. To serve, cut strata into wedges. Spoon some salsa on top of each serving. Makes 6 servings.
Make-Ahead Tip: Assemble strata. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours before baking as directed above.
Nutrition facts: Cal 254, Total Fat (g) 13, Sat Fat (g) 6, Chol (mg) 134, Sodium (mg) 556, Carb (g) 17, Fiver (g) 0, Protein (g) 18. Percent daily values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
(Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens online recipe site)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Stuffed French toast is Mom's Day brunch treat

If you’re the cook for the Mom’s Day gathering, and also the mom, you’ll want to give yourself a break and make dishes that are both easy and delicious. Today’s stuffed French toast, which is a bread pudding wannabe, is rich with the addition of cream cheese, raisins, and fragrant cinnamon.

Calories? Not to worry. The folks at Cooking Light have made this with reduced-fat cream cheese and also egg substitute. But you can always use real eggs if that’s your preference. Make it ahead to sit in the fridge, then pop it in the oven before serving time.


24 (1-ounce) slices cinnamon-raisin bread
Cooking spray
3 cups 1% low-fat milk
2 cups egg substitute, divided
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup sugar, divided
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 (8-ounce) block fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
Bottled cinnamon-sugar (optional)

Trim crusts from bread. Arrange half the bread in 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine milk, 1 1/2 cups egg substitute, half-and-half, and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl, stirring with whisk. Pour half of milk mixture over bread in dish.
Combine 1/2 cup egg substitute, 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, and cheeses in food processor or blender; process until smooth. Pour cream cheese mixture over moist bread in dish. Top with remaining bread; pour remaining milk mixture over bread. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Uncover and bake at 350° F for 55 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar, if desired. Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 1 piece)CALORIES 340 (30% from fat); FAT 11.3g (sat 5.1g,mono 3.3g,poly 0.9g); IRON 3.7mg; CHOLESTEROL 26mg; CALCIUM 197mg; CARBOHYDRATE 43.2g; SODIUM 447mg; PROTEIN 16.7g; FIBER 1.5g
Recipe from Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2001)