Friday, December 12, 2008

Low-fat pumpkin bread pudding is one solution to holiday over-indulgence

Trying to diet during the holidays seems hopeless. Who can resist the extra-rich treats we’re exposed to at dinners, parties, and even when we’re out and about? So to lighten up a bit, we’re offering today’s recipe for low-fat pumpkin bread pudding, which was developed by Fiona Haynes for the Guide to Low-fat Cooking. She enjoys finding ways to lighten recipes while still keeping them flavorful. In addition to developing hundreds of low-fat recipes, Fiona also writes two weekly healthy-eating newsletters.

While Fiona does prefer this dish with raisins, she suggests using dried cranberries as an alternative. Says Fiona: “One of our favorite ways of eating this pudding is with a drizzle of good-quality maple syrup, which is why this dessert would also make a pretty good brunch dish.” A great idea for these cool-weather days.

(Fiona Haynes)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

1 10.5 ounce day-old baguette
2 cups fat-free half and half
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup pure pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
3/4 cup raisins (or dried cranberries)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 11 X 7 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Cut baguette into 1 inch slices, then into cubes. Place in large bowl and cover with half and half, tossing bread cubes to allow liquid to soak in.
In medium bowl, combine beaten eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin, vanilla and spices. Add to bread mixture with raisins and blend well. Pour into baking dish and bake for 40-45 minutes.
Serves 8.
Per Serving: Calories 286, Calories from Fat 29, Total Fat 3.2g (sat 1.2g), Cholesterol 56mg, Sodium 335mg, Carbohydrate 57.2g, Fiber 1.9g, Protein 7g
(Recipe by Fiona Haynes on Low-fat Cooking)

Chocolate bread pudding is rich treat for the holidays

One thing’s for sure – you can depend on recipes you get from America’s Test Kitchen. So when I found this recipe I knew it had to be good. Their mission is to test recipes, understand how they work, and arrive at the best version.

And you can’t go wrong with ingredients such as challah bread, cream, cocoa, and semi-sweet chocolate. For those who don’t have time to do it all in one day, they suggest prepping the bread mixture and refrigerating it overnight, then baking the next day.

The folks at America’s Test Kitchen found that with the melted chocolate, the base was so thick that it wasn’t fully soaking into the bread. So to thin out the base, they soaked the toasted challah in a mixture of heavy cream, milk, and cocoa powder before adding in rich custard made with melted chocolate, egg yolks, cream, and sugar. They also suggest that you drizzle a bit of reserved chocolate sauce (melted chocolate and cream) over the warm bread pudding after it comes out of the oven. It’s important to use Dutch-based cocoa in this recipe. Natural cocoa powder will make the bread pudding too bitter.

Serves 12.

1 (12-inch) loaf challah, cut into 12-inch cubes (about 12 cups)
4 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 cup sugar
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
10 large egg yolks

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees F. Toast bread on baking sheet, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, about 30 minutes. Transfer to large bowl.
2. Increase oven temp to 325 degrees F. Grease 13x9-inch baking pan. Heat 1-1/2 cups cream, milk, cocoa, espresso, and 1/2 cup sugar in saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until steaming and sugar dissolves. Pour warm cream mixture over toasted bread and let stand, tossing occasionally, until liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, bring additional 1 cup cream to simmer in saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until smooth. Transfer 1 cup chocolate mixture to medium bowl and let cool 5 minutes (cover pan and reserve remaining chocolate mixture for serving). Add egg yolks, remaining cream, and sugar to bowl with chocolate mixture and whisk to combine.
4. Transfer soaked bread mixture to prepared pan and pour chocolate custard mixture evenly over bread. Bake until pudding is just set and surface is slightly crisp, about 45 mijnutes. Let cool 30 minutes. Warm reserved chocolate mixture over low heat, then pour over bread pudding. Serve. (Leftover bread pudding should be refrigerated; reheat individual portions in microwave.)
Make ahead: In step 4, once soaked bread mixture has been transferred to prepared pan, the pan can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight. When ready to bake, remove plastic and proceed with recipe as directed, increasing baking time to 55 to 60 minutes. Let reserved chocolate serving sauce cool, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Heat sauce in microwave when needed.
(Recipe 2008, America’s Test Kitchen;

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Buttery bourbon sauce tops bread pudding that's healthier

Watching calories this time of year? Ha! That’s some kind of joke.

But occasionally a great-sounding recipe comes up that’s a healthier version of a traditional rich sweet. Bread pudding topped with a buttery bourbon sauce? Healthy? Well actually this version, made with Smart Balance® products – the Butter Blend stick, and also their fat-free milk – as well as whole grain bread, is lower in fat than the traditional hi-cal dessert. It’s delicious too, laced with dried cranberries and with the scent of cinnamon and vanilla.

This pudding would be a great ending to a holiday party, or just to snack on while wrapping those gifts.
And, please note, I have no relationship with the company that produces Smart Balance® products.
So there.


1-1/2 tablespoons Smart Balance® butter Blend Stick, melted
2 cups Smart Balance™ Fat-Free Milk*
2 eggs
1 egg white
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 ounces multigrain or whole wheat Italian bread, torn in small pieces

1/4 cup Smart Balance® Butter Blend Stick
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons Smart Balance™ Fat-Free Milk*
3 tablespoons bourbon or apple juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 11x7-inch glass baking dish with Smart Balance® cooking spray; add 1-1/2 tablespoons melted Smart Balance® Butter Blend Stick and set aside.
2. Combine milk, eggs, egg white, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, and baking powder in large bowl. Whisk until well blended. Add bread and cranberries; gently stir to allow mixture to absorb slightly (do not over mix).
3. Pour mixture into baking dish and bake, uncovered, 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
4. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients, except vanilla, in small saucepan; place over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla.
5. Cut bread pudding into 8 pieces, place on dessert plates, and spoon sauce evenly over all.
Makes 11x7-inch bread pudding plus 1/2 cup sauce total. Serves 8 (about 2-1/2-inch by 3-1/2-inch pieces plus 1 tablespoon sauce per serving.
*Smart Balance™ Fat-Free Milk is available in Florida and Georgia.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Chocolate bread pudding season is here!

There are those of us who just can’t get enough chocolate. We celebrate this time of year when we can indulge in our favorite desserts, cookies, cakes, pies, and sauces. Guilt trip? We’ll deal with that tomorrow.

Use a good brand of semi-sweet chocolate to add to these cute little puddings that are baked in individual ramekins. Make the cappuccino sauce ahead of time and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to let the little darlings swim in the sauce on the plate. The folks at Chocolatier magazine suggest the option of topping them off with a chocolate sorbet. But I like them just as is with the sauce. Not that there could ever be too much chocolate …

Yield: 8 servings

Chocolate bread pudding:
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 slices fresh firm-textured white bread, such as Pepperidge Farm, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, to yield approximately 3 1/2 cups

Cappuccino Sauce:
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Chocolate sorbet for garnish (optional)

Bread pudding:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter bottoms and sides of eight ceramic ramekins or custard cups. Coat with granulated sugar.
Combine chopped chocolate, half of the sugar, heavy cream and butter in small heavy saucepan over low heat. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Transfer to large bowl and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Whisk in egg yolks and vanilla.
Beat egg whites in medium bowl until soft peaks form, using electric mixer at medium speed. Slowly add remaining sugar, beating at high speed. Beat until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture.
Gently fold in bread cubes. Divide mixture evenly among the prepared ramekins. Place in large baking pan. Add enough hot water to fill halfway up sides of ramekins.
Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted into center of a pudding comes out clean. Place ramekins on wire rack to cool slightly.

Cappuccino sauce:
Heat heavy cream in small heavy saucepan over low heat until it comes to a gentle boil. Whisk in espresso powder and cinnamon. Let cool slightly. Whisk egg yolks with sugar in mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in hot cream mixture. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over low heat for 4 minutes, stirring constantly, or until sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. Cover surface with plastic wrap. Let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time.
To serve: Unmold pudding on dessert plate and surround with cappuccino sauce. Top with a scoop of chocolate sorbet, if desired.
(Recipe © Chocolatier magazine via the Pastry Whiz website,

Monday, November 24, 2008

Orange ginger custard sauce tops pumpkin bread pudding

Pumpkin bread puddings seem to be popping up everywhere, and just in time for holiday feasting. Of course, we’ll feature the usual array of pies and holiday cookies this Thanksgiving. And along with the ‘experimental stuffing’ in the turkey, we’ll add a new dessert. Perhaps a bread pudding? You can bet on it.

This pudding is rich with challah or egg bread, and is topped with a fragrant custard sauce flavored with fresh orange and ginger. The recipe was suggested by Marlene of suburban Phoenix. Move over pumpkin pie!


9 cups challah or other egg bread, torn into chunks (about 1 lb.)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
One 16-ounce can pumpkin puree
4 large eggs
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
Orange ginger custard sauce (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 13 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Put bread in large bowl. In another large bowl, whisk together cream, pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar and all spices. Pour over bread and stir to blend, pushing bread down into mixture. Transfer to prepared dish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. At this point, you can refrigerate for up to 72 hours.
Bring to room temperature before continuing. Bake pudding until puffed and golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve individual portions in a pool of custard sauce, or drizzle sauce over the top. Variation: Sprinkle pudding with about 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts before baking to send it over the top!

Orange Ginger Custard Sauce:
3 cups whole milk
Zest of 1 orange
2 teaspoons chopped crystallized ginger
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
6 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1 to 2 teaspoons. orange liqueur or orange extract

In medium pan, heat milk, orange zest, and ginger over medium high heat until milk begins to form bubbles around sides of pan. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 5 minutes. Strain zest and ginger out of milk, returning milk to the pan. Wisk in sugar, cornstarch, and egg yolks and, over medium heat, whisk until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream and liqueur. Transfer to glass bowl, let cool slightly and press plastic wrap directly against surface to keep a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. At this point, you may refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze up to 1 month. When ready to serve, rewhisk sauce and serve cold or warm. Makes about 3 cups.
You may also serve this gingery smooth custard sauce with apple cake, gingerbread, spice cake or this bread pudding.
(Recipe from The Diva's Famous Do-Ahead Thanksgiving Dinner - from Happy Holidays from the Diva of Do-Ahead, Diane Phillips)

Cinnamon raisin bread pudding with hot cider sauce is a warmer-upper

We stopped at the library this afternoon, which was a warm, cozy spot to escape from our unseasonably cold weather here on the New England coast. And what jumped out at us as we stepped in the door was a cookbook titled, “Unbelievable Microwave Desserts” by Adrienne Welch and Mary Goodbody. With the subtitle, “More than 135 irresistible recipes for puddings, pies, cakes, and more,” this book was an invitation to check out especially the “and more.”

And, sure enough, on page 49 was a recipe for bread pudding. It had the homey touch of raisins and cinnamon with an intriguing hint (well, maybe more than a hint) of rum. Topping this pudding was a hot cider sauce – now who could resist this comforting dish on a cold, raw day?

Also, with the business of the holidays coming up, this recipe is as fast and easy as you’re going to get for a bread pudding – let the microwave do the cooking for you. The authors suggest in a kitchen note that to save time, prepare the custard mixture ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. Then cut the bread cubes and store them in a plastic bag or airtight container until you are ready to prepare the pudding.


Preparation time: About 20 minutes
Microwave time: 13 to 18 minutes plus 10 minutes standing

Bread pudding:
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons dark rum (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 slices cinnamon-raisin bread, crusts removed
2 cups hot tap water

Cider Sauce:
1 cup fresh apple cider
2 tablespoons dark raisins
4 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon dark rum (optional)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Fresh lemon juice to taste

To make bread pudding: Combine eggs, egg yolk, sugar, and salt in 2-1/2-quart bowl. Whisk vigorously until frothy. Stir in milk, cream, rum, and vanilla extract. Use rubber spatula to fold in bread cubes. Mix well.
Spoon mixture into four 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups. Arrange ramekins in circle in 10-inch microwave-safe glass pie plate. Carefully pour hot tap water into pie plate. The water should come halfway up sides of ramekins.
Microwave on MEDIUM (50 percent) power for 10 to 13 minutes, rotating puddings a half turn after 5 minutes. If your microwave has no turntable, also rotate pie plate after 5 minutes. Test puddings for doneness after 10 minutes by inserting toothpick into each one; it should come out clean.
Let puddings stand in hot water bath on flat heatproof surface for 10 minutes while you prepare sauce.
To prepare cider sauce: Combine cider, raisins, and sugar in 2-cup microwave-safe glass measuring cup.
Put cornstarch in a small cup. Slowly stir in 1 tablespoon cider until smooth. Pour mixture into measuring cup holding the cider, and stir until blended.
Cover measuring cup with waxed paper. Microwave on HIGH (100 percent) power for 2 to 4 minutes, whisking every 60 seconds, until sauce is translucent and comes to a rapid boil. Do not let sauce boil for more than 30 seconds, or it will become watery.
Stir in rum, if desired, and vanilla extract. Add lemon juice to taste.
Run the tip of small knife around edge of a warm pudding. Invert pudding into palm of your hand and carefully place it right side up in center of a dessert plate. Spoon some cider sauce around it. Unmold and pour sauce on remaining puddings in the same way. Serves 4.
(Recipe from Unbelievable Microwave Desserts by Adrienne Welch and Mary Goodbody, © 1992, Simon & Schuster)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin bread pudding celebrates Halloween

We’re amazed at the number of pumpkin bread puddings we’ve come across in our travels. They come plain and also dolled up with nuts, chocolate chips, and dried cranberries, just to name a few variations.

Today’s recipe comes from Gourmet, which is a great endorsement. They describe it as “sultry” with “soft cushions of country bread soaked with rich custard.” Mmmmmmmm. This is definitely one to savor as we enter the chilly season here in New England.


1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 yolk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch of ground cloves
5 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old baguette or crusty bread
3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Whisk together cream, pumpkin, milk, sugar, eggs, yolk, salt, and spices in bowl. Toss bread cubes with butter in another bowl, then add pumpkin mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to ungreased 8-inch square baking dish and bake until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes. Makes 6 servings.
(Gourmet, October 2007, Ian Knauer; also

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sourdough bread pudding is topped with warm honey sauce

Mention sourdough bread and you’ve got our attention. It’s one of our all-time favorites. We love it plain with butter, or toasted to go along with our morning coffee. So there’s not usually much left over to play with. When we find a great sounding recipe like this one, however, we put some bread aside to make bread pudding. This recipe comes from Rachel Ray’s collection – you can count on her to come up with tasty offerings that are easy to put together.

It’s a nice, rich dish for cooler weather, studded with chunks of pecans, and topped with a honey/butter sauce that’s accented with cayenne and cinnamon to give it a little kick. Just pull up a chair by the wood stove and dig in.


2 eggs
2 cups milk, at room temp
1 stick, plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups sugar
3-1/2 to 4 cups cubed sourdough bread
1/3 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash salt
1/2 cup heavy cream

1.Preheat oven to 325°. Using electric mixer, beat eggs, then beat in milk, 2 tablespoons melted butter and vanilla. Gradually add th sugar and mix until dissolved.
2. Place bread cubes in 9-inch round baking dish and pour egg mixture on top. Sprinkle pecans on top and press them into bread. Bake until set, about 50 minutes.
3. A few minutes before pudding is done, in medium saucepan, heat remaining 1 stick melted butter with honey, cinnamon, cayenne and salt over medium heat, whisking to combine. Remove from heat and whisk in cream. Drizzle half of warm honey sauce over bread pudding and serve the rest alongside. Eight servings.
Prep time: 15 minutes. Bake time: 50 minutes.
(Recipe by Robb Walsh, from Every Day with Rachel Ray, April 2007. Photo by John Kernick.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Stuff your pumpkin with bread pudding made with cranberries and raisins

Pumpkins are everywhere these days, including my front porch where three pumpkins sit – my traditional collection, one for each of my three children.

And in the kitchen we’re contemplating how to use this full-of-flavor vegetable in some favorite dishes – pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cheesecake, and even pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (thanks Risa for this latter incredibly wonderful recipe!).

Today’s pumpkin recipe involves stuffing this colorful round with a delectable mixture of raisin bread, cranberries, and pecans. Then it’s all topped off with a tempting lemon-vanilla sauce that oozes down the pumpkin. I found the recipe on where they featured this dish from Southern Living. You can make this dessert either using one large pumpkin, or as individual servings using one-half-pound pumpkins. Either way, you can count on ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ when you bring out this delightful offering that’s perfect for a holiday table.


1 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) pumpkin*
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted and divided
2 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
3/4 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 (16-ounce) raisin bread loaf, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
Lemon-Vanilla Sauce (below)

Cut off top of pumpkin, reserving lid with stem. Scoop out pumpkin seeds and pulp, and reserve for another use. Brush inside of pumpkin shell with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Top with lid.
Bake at 350° for 35 minutes.
Brush inside of baked pumpkin shell with 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar.
Stir together eggs and next 6 ingredients; spoon pudding mixture into a lightly greased 8-inch square pan.
Bake pumpkin and bread pudding at 350° for 25 minutes. Let pumpkin cool; spoon bread pudding evenly into pumpkin shell. Serve with Lemon-Vanilla Sauce.
*Note: For individual servings, substitute 12 (1/2-pound) pumpkins. Scoop out seeds and pulp; sprinkle each pumpkin shell with 1 teaspoon butter and 1 teaspoon sugar, and bake with the bread pudding. (Do not prebake as with the larger pumpkin.) Spoon bread pudding evenly into baked pumpkin shells. Yield: 12 servings.
(Southern Living, October 2002)

Lemon-Vanilla Sauce

1 vanilla bean, split
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Cook vanilla bean, water, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in saucepan over medium heat, stirring until smooth and thickened.
Stir in butter and remaining ingredients, and cook until thoroughly heated. Remove vanilla bean. Yield: 1-2/3 cups.
(Southern Living, October 2002)

Sausage, apple, and Cheddar bread pudding is holiday fare

We’re counting down the days. Until Halloween. Until the very-long-awaited election. Until the holidays, with their special meals and fixin’s. One recipe that caught our eye this week is rich with the flavors of apples, onion, sausage, and Cheddar cheese. It’s from a 2004 issue of Cooking Light, and while this dish could be defined as a bread pudding, it looks like it would make a great stuffing too. We’re always on the lookout for a new stuffing for the ‘experimental’ end of the bird. This could be this year’s holiday offering.

The folks at Cooking Light suggest leaving the peel on the apple for both color and texture. We’ll take them at their word. It looks like a great way to use leftover sourdough bread too.

Yield 6 servings

8 ounces turkey Italian sausage
2 cups chopped Granny Smith apple
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 cup egg substitute
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
8 ounces (1-inch) cubed day-old sourdough bread (about 9 cups)
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.
Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove casings from sausage. Add sausage to pan; cook for 4 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Stir in apple and onion. Cover and cook over low heat 5 minutes or until apple is crisp-tender. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
Combine milk, egg substitute, 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, parsley, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir in sausage mixture. Add bread, and stir gently to combine. Let stand 10 minutes. Spoon into 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until pudding is set and lightly browned.
Nutritional Information -
Calories: 308 (30% from fat) Fat: 10.4g (sat 4.9g,mono 3.4g,poly 1.6g) Protein: 20.7g
Carbohydrate: 32.4g Fiber: 2.7g Cholesterol: 50mg Iron: 2.5mg Sodium: 762mg Calcium: 256mg
(Marie Simmons, Cooking Light, October 2004)

Pepe's apple bread pudding has New Orleans flavor

When you live in New Orleans, you have to love bread pudding. One of our Internet friends, Pepe, so enjoys the wonderful bread puddings there, that he’s been inspired to develop his own versions. Today’s recipe, his latest creation, he describes as “awesome.” His wife agrees and wants to make this dish part of their permanent collection.

“This bread pudding is so delicious you do not need the sauce,” says Pepe. He doesn’t always make the rum sauce, but that is an option. He advises letting the bread get stale for a couple of days before cutting it up for bread pudding. “I find it absorbs the milk/eggs mixture better. I also like to press it down once it is all combined so it absorbs the eggs and milk well,” says Pepe.

And while he uses Washington Delicious apples in his pudding, there are many other choices, depending on what’s available in your area. One of our local apple growers here in Rhode Island suggests using a combination of different apples in baked dishes. Among the apple varieties that bake up well are Baldwins, Golden Delicious, Jonathans, Macouns, Pippins, and Rhode Island Greenings. Just to name a few. I like to choose whatever's in my fridge and take it from there.

Here’s Pepe’s recipe. Thanks for sharing!


1/2 cup raisins
4 ounces rum
1-1/2 loaf of French bread, cut into cubes
2 Washington Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and diced
2 ounces slivered almonds
2 ounces diced pecans
7 large eggs, beaten
2 cups sugar
3 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 14-ounce can condensed milk
1 stick butter, melted

Place raisins in rum overnight; they will swell up and get nice and juicy. Pull raisins and reserve the rum.
I use a Pyrex baking dish, about 11 X 16, sprayed with butter. Spread cut-up bread cubes to cover entire dish. Sprinkle apples, raisins, almonds, and pecans all over bread.
In large bowl, combine eggs with sugar and mix well. Add milk, cinnamon, and vanilla and mix well. Add evaporated and condensed milk and mix until well combined. Add reserved rum and butter and blend well.
Wash and dry the orange. Rasp the orange peel (orange only not the white) and pour into mixture. Squeeze juice of the orange and pour into mixture. Mix it all well.
Pour egg mixture over bread cubes. Be sure to cover it all. Let it sit for about 30 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until a fork inserted comes out dry. DO NOT OVERCOOK!!!! !!!
© 2008 recipe by Pepe of New Orleans.

Rum Sauce:
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
4 tablespoons rum
Combine butter, flour, and sugar in saucepan. Cook over medium heat until it thickens. Remove from heat and add rum. Serve warm over bread pudding.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Halloween bread pudding uses candy from trick-or-treat night

If there’s any candy left in the bowl after the ghosts and goblins come knockin’ at your door, here’s a delicious way to use it up. Crunch up the candy into little pieces and bake it into a post-Halloween nutty, crunchy bread pudding that you can serve topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

This one’s for my classmates from Chicopee High School in Massachusetts, where we’re celebrating our class reunion this weekend.
Go CHS!!
Marcus Chicotonius lives on!!!


2 or 3 slices bread, spread lightly with butter or margarine, and cubed (2 to 3 cups)
11 miniature chocolate bars, chopped into chunks (1/2 to 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup (3- or 4-ounce package) dried cherries or cranberries
2 eggs, beaten with fork
1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons apricot brandy (or vanilla extract)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups milk, scalded

Combine cubed bread, candy chunks, and dried fruit in greased 1-1/2-quart baking dish. In bowl, combine eggs, sugar, salt, brandy, and cinnamon. Add scalded milk slowly, stirring to combine. Pour over bread mixture. Set baking dish in shallow pan of hot water. Bake in 350-degree oven about 1 hour or until firm and browned on top. Serve topped with whipped cream or ice cream, and sprinkled with chocolate curls. Serves 4-6.
© 2008 recipe by Portia Little.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Apple bread pudding is North Carolina festival winner

The apple festival is a delicious rite of autumn. And in fact, in Henderson, NC, one of the largest apple-producing counties in the United States, they have an apple festival each year. It goes on for three days, with a parade, grand marshal, apple queen, arts and crafts booths, and many food vendors. The works.

Every year too their local newspaper holds an apple recipe contest. This year Jay Farris won a prize for his apple bread pudding, which is brimming with Granny Smith apples and toasted pecans. And to top off that mouth-watering combo, he created a delectable sauce that’s flavored with apple juice and Calvados apple brandy.

Thanks to my friends on the AkaFallsInn_Hawaii Internet group for contributing this recipe – list owner Sonia Martinez of Hawaii, and Mary-Anne Durkee of California. They know a good recipe when they see one.

I can just imagine curling up by the fire on a cool fall evening with a big bowl of this pudding. It doesn’t get much better.

(Prize winner in Western North Carolina apple recipe contest)

2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups or 4 slices Fireside Restaurant bread (a local restaurant), or other white bread, toasted and cubed
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup chopped and toasted pecans
1 cup peeled and diced WNC Granny Smith apples
For the sauce:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup WNC apple juice
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup Calvados apple brandy (sub apple juice for no alcohol)
1 decoratively-sliced WNC apple (without the peel) for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 10-by-10 or 9-by-13 inch pan. Mix together granulated sugar, eggs and milk in a bowl, then add vanilla. Combine chopped apples and stir well. Pour over cubed bread and let sit for 10 to 30 minutes (or until thoroughly absorbed).
In another bowl, mix and crumble together brown sugar, butter and chopped pecans. Pour bread mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over the top and bake for 35 to 50 minutes, or until firm or set. Remove from oven.

Sauce: Mix together granulated sugar, apple juice, butter, egg and vanilla in saucepan over medium heat. When simmering, add sliced decorative WNC apple slices. Add Calvados (or apple juice), stirring well. Reduce to about 1/2 cup of liquid and then pour over bread pudding. Serve warm or cold.
(Recipe 2008 from Jay Farris, Hendersonville, NC)

Apple bread puddings are autumn specialty

Fall’s in the air here on the Rhode Island shore. We love the crisp, cool weather, the sight of a few leaves turning on the trees, and the promise of fresh, crisp apples.

Also, on the bread pudding front, the apple recipes are ‘a comin’ in. We can’t wait to share them with you all. We like apple bread pudding as much as apple pie, so we can’t wait to try these new ways with apples. Topped with good vanilla ice cream, you can’t do any better. Today’s recipe is one of the easiest we’ve seen in a while, which fits in fine with everyone’s busy fall schedules. And because it contains no eggs or milk, this dish makes a fine vegan dessert. It was shared on Recipezaar by Cindi J, who also took the enticing photo. She first tasted the recipe years ago at a Pampered Chef party and has enjoyed it ever since.


6 cups cinnamon raisin bread, cubed (approx. 10 slices)
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 Granny Smith apples, sliced
1 (12.5-ounce) jar caramel sauce

Cube bread and toss with melted butter. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9x9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
Slice apples thinly (you can leave peel on if desired), and evenly layer one-half of apples in bottom of prepared dish. Top apples with one-half of the bread cubes, making sure to layer as evenly as possible.
Pour one-half of jar of caramel sauce over bread and repeat layers with remaining ingredients. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm. Serves 6.
(Recipe from Recipezaar 2008, contributed by CindiJ. Photo also by CindiJ.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Autumn bread pudding features pears, cranberries and apricots

There’s a touch of fall in the air today. It feels good – nice and crisp and sunny, with temps just hovering around seventy degrees. And on the bread pudding scene is this recipe for autumn, full of the color and flavor of apricots, cranberries, and pears.

It comes from the folks at King Arthur Flour, whose shop and cooking facility I visited recently in Norwich, Vermont. This trip makes a delightful fall excursion. While you’re there, you can sample some of their fresh breads, attend a cooking class, or just enjoy the ambience.

They suggest using a nice, rich bread such as brioche or challah for this pudding. Mmmmm, this one’s irresistible.


7 cups (about 9 ounces) cubed leftover bread (brioche and challah are nice)
6 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 cup half and half, cream, or milk
15-ounce can pears in light syrup
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a Polish stoneware shallow fluted bowl, or 9" x 13" baking dish.Whisk eggs in large bowl. Add sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, and whisk until thoroughly combined. Add milk and half and half, continuing to whisk. Stir bread into egg mixture, using large spoon or spatula to mix everything together until bread is thoroughly coated. Let stand for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.Drain pears, reserving syrup for another use if desired. Cut pears into 1" pieces. Cut dried apricots into slivers. (Scissors sprayed with a little non-stick vegetable oil spray work well here.) Fold all the fruit into bread-custard mixture and pour it into baking pan. Bake for 50 minutes (for 9" x 13" pan) to 60 minutes (for Polish dish), until pudding is puffed, lightly browned, and a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let pudding cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Drizzle with caramel sauce and serve with ice cream, if desired. Yield: 12 servings.
(Recipe from King Arthur Flour, 2008)

Peanut butter and jelly stars in kids' recipe

Kids in the kitchen – they’re either rummaging through the shelves for a snack, or complaining that “there’s nothing to eat.”

We’ve found that one way to keep them happy is to encourage them to try their own hand at cooking – and in fact some of my happiest moments were the times when one or more of my young kids would stand on a chair next to the counter, helping prepare a favorite treat – often chocolate chip cookies!

Last night as we were leafing through some food magazines, we came across a recipe that’s perfect for children to make. Easy-prep, and it contains the ever-popular peanut butter and jelly – that’s hard to beat.

Is this a bread pudding? No way, but it does contain some of the basic ingredients, bread, milk and eggs. So it goes into the ‘Almost Bread Pudding’ category, and we can’t wait to try this one with our grands.


12 slices bread
3/4 cup peanut butter
6 tablespoons (or more) jelly or jam
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter

Spread peanut butter on 6 slices of bread. Spread jelly on the other 6 slices. Put one slice of each together to form sandwiches. In mixing bowl, lightly beat eggs; add milk and salt and mix together. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Dip sandwiches in egg mixture, coating well. Place in skillet and brown on both sides. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.
(Recipe from Taste of Home Collector’s Edition 1999)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Slow cooker white chocolate bread pudding is hot in the heat

We ushered in Hurricane Hanna here the other day, fortunately with just a small ‘poof’ of wind and a steamy, warm day. But it was perfect weather for trying out a bread pudding in the slow cooker - not adding any more heat to the house. This pudding came all the way from Arizona, sent by my Internet buddy, Marlene Shillington. She thought this dish, with its white chocolate, colorful dried fruit such as cranberries or cherries, and brandy, would make a wonderful holiday dessert. But no way were we going to wait that long to try this sweet delicacy.

Marlene found the recipe on Sunday Dinner Club, a group on the Web devoted to good food and recipes. And, while she was contemplating making it with a quick bread, such as a cranberry/banana or cinnamon bread, I decided to just go with the recipe as is – my freezer is bulging with leftover Italian bread that screams “Lemme outa here,” each time I open the door.

It was a snap to put together and, unlike some slow cooker bread puddings, which take many hours to cook, this one was ready in just under two hours. I plumped the dried cherries in brandy, then added them to the first layer of bread – I didn’t bother to drain them - why waste a good thing? I served the pudding topped with additional chopped white chocolate, some dried cherries on the side, and whipped cream. It was very fine for breakfast as well.


1/3 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries
3 tablespoon brandy or bourbon
1 (3-ounce) bar white chocolate (a high-quality brand, such as Tobler or Lindt)
2 tablespoons butter
6 cups stale French bread cubes
4 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Soak cherries or cranberries in brandy (or juice) for at least one hour, until plumped. Coarsely chop the chocolate bar. Meanwhile, bring all remaining ingredients to room temperature. Generously butter crockery insert of a 3-1/2-quart slow cooker. Cover bottom with half of bread cubes; then scatter with half of drained cherries and chopped chocolate. Layer on remaining bread cubes, and top with rest of cherries and chocolate. Whisk eggs and sugar until smooth; then whisk in half-and-half and vanilla until well-blended. Carefully pour over bread mixture, gently pressing down on bread to moisten all cubes. Cook on high for 1-3/4 hours, without lifting lid, until set and puffed. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 6 servings.
(Recipe from Sunday Dinner Club on Yahoo groups on the Web.)
Portia's note: I didn't bring the ingredients to room temp, as suggested in this recipe. It came out fine.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bacon tomato tartlets star for dinner munchies

One of the fun things about this blog is trying out the recipes. Most of them are winners, and yesterday’s tomato tartlets were no exception. We made them before dinner last night and if I hadn’t whisked most of them away to store in the freezer for next weekend’s company, we’d have had to make another batch. Eager hands were grabbing them up.

Here’s a photo we took before they disappeared from the plate.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Bacon tomato tartlets are bread pudding wannabees

Did we say tomatoes? Again?

You bet your sweet beefsteaks we did! For one thing, we can’t resist sharing the great and sometimes unique recipes using juicy, flavorful tomatoes, either fresh from your garden or your local farmers’ markets. I was intrigued by today’s recipe, which falls under the category of “Almost Bread Puddings.” It does feature a bread product - biscuits - as well as cheese, and mayo, which of course contains eggs. But mostly I liked the idea of making some small tartlets, which can also be frozen and reheated later. If there are any left.

I found this recipe in a newsletter from Lisa Shively of NC, who’s a fellow foodie, cookbook author, radio personality, and contest judge, among her many talents. Food, once a passion, is now a full-time job for Lisa, who has teamed up with the NC Sweet Potato Commission to write her most recent cookbook, Lisa Shively’s Fat Little Sweet Potato Cookbook , which you can find on her website,

Lisa’s love of food goes beyond the food itself. She feels that a good home-cooked meal creates “lasting family memories of everyone gathering at the table … .” And while it’s challenging to fit a family supper into a busy schedule, she calls their time together “priceless.” We share her sentiments, and we can’t wait to try this recipe.


1 (12-ounce) can flaky biscuits
6 slices deli bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
1 medium tomato, seeds removed, and chopped
3 ounces Mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup real mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Split each biscuit into 3 pieces (the flaky biscuits pull apart easily into their natural layers). Spray MINI muffin tins lightly with cooking oil, Press split biscuits into muffin tins. You may not use all the biscuits. Mix remaining ingredients together and fill each of the pastries with mixture. Bake in 350 F.-degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 24 mini-muffin tartlets. These can be frozen and reheated for unexpected guests.
(Recipe from Lisa Shively’s Kitchen Helpers newsletter, contributed by Jere Ann Ocker, 2008.)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hot sauce heats up tomato bread pudding

Like the tomato crop, the bread pudding recipes just keep coming in. So many nice ones using tomatoes that it’s hard to decide which one to try next. And some, like today’s recipe, have been around for a few years.

“This dish is sooooooo good, and one can add whatever one wants or simply do it as is,” says MaryLee McAllister of Ohio, who contributed the recipe. She likes to use her heirloom tomatoes in this bread pudding, which she actually found in an article in the now-defunct Cincinnati Post from Joyce Rosencrans, their food editor at the time. “Tabasco Chipotle Sauce adds a nice, different, rather smoky taste,” notes MaryLee, who adds, “I like lots!”

Monterey Jack and Parmesan cheeses also give this pudding an extra kick along with chopped fresh onions and herbs. And, depending on the size of your group, you can enjoy this dish for dinner, and also serve it for brunch the next day.

Prep. Time: 35 minutes

Baking: 30-40 minutes

1 pound fresh tomatoes
12 cups bread cubes (from 12-ounce French bread)
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning (or mix basil, oregano, thyme)
4 cups milk
5 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray a 13X9-inch baking dish. Set aside. Dice tomatoes to approximately 3 cups (medium dice). (Peel and seed if desired.) Place bread cubes in single layers on cookie sheets; bake until toasted, about 5 minutes, turning once or twice. Add toasted bread cubes to tomato bowl, along with shredded Jack and Parmesan cheeses, onion, and herbs. Spoon into baking dish. In same large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, hot sauce, and salt. Pour over tomato mixture. With pancake turner, press down bread to cover with custard mixture. Let stand 5 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees F., uncovered, for 30-40 minutes, until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool slightly before lifting out squares to serve.
Recipe from Joyce Rosencrans, Food Editor, Cincinnati Post, 1998.
(Notes from MaryLee: Tabasco Chipotle Sauce gives a nice smoky taste, and she likes lots. Also, she uses sea salt.)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hawaiian bread pudding features coconut and rum

One of the very best things that’s happened since I started this blog just a few months ago is the connection I’ve made to so many wonderful people who have contributed recipes, made comments, and added their own expertise and dishes to the mix.

One such person is Mary-Anne Durkee, who lives in California and has traveled the world seeking out exotic and wonderful foods. Mary-Anne, also a fan of bread pudding, recently created her own version of a recipe from chef Austin Szu. She posted it on the AkakaFallsInn_Hawaii group, which showcases the best of the Big Island. She describes this pudding as “sort of Hawaiian with a Nutella® (Italian) twist.” Now there’s an intriguing combo. Leis and fedoras?

Nutella®, a chocolatey hazelnut spread, which is used in the presentation, was first created in the 1940s by Pietro Ferrero in Piedmonte, Italy, says Mary-Anne, who also is an editor for iFood.TV and owner of the Tomatomania list on Yahoo. Mahalo for this flavorful recipe!

1-1/2 cup coconut milk
1-1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
8 large eggs
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons. Malibu coconut rum
1 pound Hawaiian bread, crust sliced, white cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups shredded coconut, finely chopped into smaller pieces
1 stick butter, room temperature
Extra coconut and macadamia nuts for topping and presentation (see below)

Heat milk, cream and vanilla in a pot until just boiling. In separate bowl, whisk eggs and sugar together until sugar is dissolved, and then carefully temper in the hot dairy. Add rum and mix well.
Slice the crust off loaf of Hawaiian bread in large pieces and cut remaining white bread into 1/2-inch cubes. Mix room temperature butter with shredded coconut and spread it on inside of Hawaiian bread crust pieces and white bread pieces also. Lay all crust pieces crust side down in a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. This will form the crust layer at the bottom of your bread pudding. Add bread-cubes mixture and toss to coat. Transfer bread cubes to baking pan and lie them on top of crust layer. Pour mixture over bread in baking pan and smooth top with a spatula. Let mixture stand for 25 minutes to allow bread to absorb the custard.
Bake at 325 degrees F. until center is set and bread pudding is golden brown on top, about 55 minutes. Let stand for 30 minutes to cool slightly.
For coconut topping and macadamia nuts, toss and roll them in finely chopped crystallized ginger, and lightly toast in oven.
(Recipe adapted by Mary-Anne Durkee for the AkakaFallsInn_Hawaii group from a recipe by chef Austin Szu.)
Note: the Hawaiian bread is similar to Portuguese sweet bread.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Savory tomato Brie bread pudding is seasonal delight

Goodbye to August. It was a good one, and while summer is on the wane, we look forward to still more days when we can enjoy New England weather.

And, okay, if you’ve been paying attention, you know that we featured this recipe back on June 4th. We finally tried it last week, making use of our garden tomato crop.

It’s a winner – fragrant with the aroma of fresh tomatoes, sweet onion, and celery, and accented by a gentle suggestion of Brie. This savory pudding is good served warm or at room temp; and it would make a wonderful brunch dish or light supper.

I made a few changes, which I’ve noted at the end of the recipe. I felt the soft bread would be too soggy, so I toasted the pieces in the oven until just crisp on the outside. And, making only half the recipe for our twosome, I used one egg and 1 egg substitute (Egg Beater). The pudding is colorful with reds and greens, which would make it a nice Christmas dish … but let’s not get ahead of ourselves …

(from Tomatoes, A Country Garden Cookbook, by Jesse Ziff Cool)

6 lightly packed cups of soft white bread
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
8 ounces Brie cheese, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 to 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock, homemade or canned

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Break bread into small pieces and place in large bowl. In medium saucepan, saute onions and celery in butter over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Pour sauteed mixture over bread and toss. Butter 2-quart baking dish. Spread layer of bread mixture on bottom. Cover with a layer of tomatoes and a third of the cheese. Continue layering, ending up with a layer of bread mixture on top. In small bowl, whisk together eggs and 1 cup chicken stock. Pour over dish. All bread should be lightly moistened. Add more stock if necessary. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until pudding is fluffy, firm and golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. This bread pudding is also great when served at room temperature. Serves 6.
(Hints from Portia: I made half the recipe and substituted an Egg Beater (1/4 cup) for 1 egg, along with a second real large egg. For the bread, I tore up some hamburg buns and toasted them for 5 minutes on a baking sheet at 350 degrees F. Baked it in an 8”-square Corningware dish sprayed with cooking spray. The layers are as follows: 1/3 bread, 1/2 tomatoes, 1/3 cheese, 1/3 bread, 1/2 tomatoes, 1/3 cheese, 1/3 bread, 1/3 cheese. I used a generous 1 cup vegetable stock combined with the eggs, which made just the right amount of moisture.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Brioche bread puddings are rich with berries of summer

Did I hear “bread pudding”? My ears are tuned to those lovely words, and even though I’m distracted by the post-breakfast cleanup chores, I detect the “sounds” of bread pudding coming from the Food Network show that I have on in the background.

Yes!! It’s Tyler Florence and he has created some beautiful bread puddings full of blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries, which he’s nestled in individual ramekins. The dishes can wait. I put aside my wash cloth and watch as Tyler whips up a topping of powdered sugar, lemon rind, and juice to top these little delicacies.

I like the Tyler Florence recipes because they’re something I’d try myself – not too fancy and with a homey touch. They’re easy to put together and good enough to impress company, or just the immediate company of your family for a comfy weeknight meal.

This particular recipe is from Tyler’s Ultimate, which on this particular episode featured a Chicken Paillard with Creamy Parmesan Salad for the main course. I watched as he took the individual puddings out of the oven, and drizzled them with the lemon fondant. Well, I’d just call it a glaze, but I guess if you’re a Food Network guy you have to come up with something that sounds more special.

(Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence 2008 from the Tyler’s Ultimate show, Ultimate Chickan Paillard episode)

Brioche Bread Pudding:
Butter, room temperature
4 eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup sugar, plus more for dusting and topping
4 large slices brioche bread
2 cups mixed berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries), plus more for garnish

Lemon Fondant:
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 lemons, zested and juiced

Butter and sugar 6 (6-ounce) ramekins. In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, vanilla extract, lemon zest and sugar. Combine well with whisk, then let it settle so there are no air bubbles on the surface otherwise they will cause lumps in your anglaise.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Tear brioche up into large pieces using your hands, add to the custard mixture and toss to combine. Equally divide berries among ramekins and top with bread mixture. Gently press down so they are packed evenly. Sprinkle with more sugar, then refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes to let soak.
Bake for 25 minutes in center of oven. The pudding is ready when it has puffed up and custard is set. The top should be a nice golden color. Remove and allow to cool slightly.
Make fondant. In mixing bowl combine sifted powdered sugar, water, lemon zest and juice.
Once pudding has cooled slightly, invert onto individual serving plate. Drizzle lemon fondant over warm bread pudding and serve with extra fresh berries.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Roasted tomatoes star in bread pudding

As we marvel at the skills of the Olympic athletes this week, we also make note of a different competition. That is, which will take the prize in the garden for sheer volume of produce? The ever-prolific zucchini? Or the crop of tomatoes, which are, of course, again managing their annual accomplishment of ripening all at once, so you can’t pick them fast enough or use them up before they turn to a mushier state than you desire.

So thank goodness for good friends such as Jean Donnelly of Carlisle, MA, who sent a recipe from the July 2008 issue of Gourmet. Simply called “Tomato Bread Pudding,” this dish is anything but simple, as it features roasted Roma tomato halves, garlic, and two fragrant cheeses, an Italian Fontina, and some Parmigiano-Regianno.

The author of the Gourmet article, Paul Grimes, stated that this “homey dish made everyone in the test kitchen swoon.” In addition to serving it as a side dish, he suggests the possibility of making it a vegetarian main dish along with a green salad.

Now, even though we don’t have plum tomatoes among our own tomato crop, we’re going to use our garden variety to try this one. We have the tomatoes lined up on the counter, all ready to go.


3 pounds plum tomatoes such as Roma, halved lengthwise
1 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 head garlic, left whole
10 cups cubed (1-inch) country-style Italian bread (1 pound)
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
8 large eggs
2 cups coarsely grated chilled Italian Fontina (9 ounces)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter 3-quart shallow baking dish (about 13 by 9 inches). Toss tomatoes in bowl with herbes de Provence, 1 tablespoon oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Arrange tomatoes, cut sides up, in a large heavy 4-sided sheet pan.
Cut off and discard 1/4 inch from top of garlic head to expose cloves, then put on a sheet of foil and drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil. Wrap garlic in foil and roast in pan with tomatoes until tomatoes are browned but still juicy and garlic is soft, 50 to 60 minutes. (Leave oven on.) Cool garlic to warm, then force through a medium-mesh sieve with a rubber spatula, discarding skins. Reserve purée.
While garlic cooks, toss bread cubes in large bowl with remaining oil until coated, then spread out in large 4-sided sheet pan and bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
Whisk together milk, cream, eggs, garlic purée, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir in cheeses. Transfer bread to baking dish, then pour egg mixture over bread and add tomatoes, pushing some down between bread cubes. Bake until firm to the touch and golden brown in spots, 50 to 60 minutes. Serves 8.
(Recipe and photo from Gourmet, July 2008.)
Cooks' note: Bread pudding is best the day it is made but can be made 1 day ahead and chilled (covered once cool). Reheat, covered with foil, in a 350°F oven.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Tomato bread puddings help use up the crop

The tomatoes are arriving in droves. Bright red ones hanging from the branches just waiting to be picked and enjoyed sliced fresh and topped with salt or a splash of Balsamic vinegar. Or to make into fresh pasta sauce accented with garlic, or in a tomato-cheese pie fragrant with basil leaves, also right from our garden.

And just in time for the influx of the big reds, we’re receiving recipes for tomato bread puddings, both in our e-mail and snail mail boxes. Our friend Kathy J from CA sent an e-mail asking, “Is this bread pudding?” She was referring to the recipe she forwarded, which does indeed include the necessary bread, but has no eggs or milk.

Why not? Our definition of bread pudding has broadened to include the summer puddings, which contain only layers of bread and macerated fruit. So we can certainly label this offering a bread pudding. It’s from Norma, a contributor to Taste of Home, who comments: “Every time I make this dish, someone asks for the recipe.” You can’t get much better than that. It’s lovely for an end-of-summer side dish.


8 medium tomatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
8 slices bread, crusts removed and cubed
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange tomatoes in greased 13x9-inch baking dish. Top with bread cubes. Combine butter, salt, basil, and thyme; drizzle over bread and tomatoes. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until tomatoes are tender. Serves 8-10 as a side dish.
(Recipe from Taste of Home online.)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Mushroom bread pudding is all-day pleasure

Trying to beat the heat, we’ve been seeking out simple lunch or brunch dishes. Something to make up ahead in the morning to enjoy with a garden or fresh fruit salad. Today’s bread pudding is at the top of the list.

This recipe immediately caught my eye because, as I see it, there can never be too many mushrooms. Next to, or alongside, chocolate, they’re my favorite ingredient. There isn’t a mushroom I don’t like, either dried or fresh. In fact, I have wonderful memories of the beet borscht my mom used to make using packaged dried mushrooms. From the plain old garden-variety of button mushrooms at the market, to the more exotic shitakes, creminis, and cepes, I love to add them to fresh salad greens, sauces, and stir-fry dishes.

And also to bread pudding, especially when you have a savory dish such as today’s Mushroom Bread Pudding, which I found in Mollie Katzen’s Sunlight Café cookbook. Her chapter on puddings and custards, an inspiration in itself, includes such goodies as Honey or Maple Breakfast Flan, Sweet Potato Pudding, and Spinach-Feta Pudding. Oooooooh, I’m in pudding heaven. Post-its all over the place.

Katzen offers not only marvelous recipes in this book, but also some helpful tips, such as the following:
“You can give this pudding an even deeper flavor by adding up to 1/2 ounce of dried shitake, oyster, or porcini mushrooms to the sautéed mixture in step 4. Soak dried mushrooms in hot water about 30 minutes, then drain, stem, and chop, and they’re ready to use. Save flavorful soaking liquid for use in soup or sauce, if desired.”

Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep time: 40 minutes, plus 35 to 40 minutes to bake

Nonstick spray
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 cups chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
6 to 8 cups sliced mushrooms (1-1/2 lbs.)
5 ounces fresh shitake mushrooms, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cups bread cubes (1-1/2-inch pieces)
5 large eggs
2 cups milk
Sour cream, yogurt, or Crème Fraiche, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, F. (325 degrees for glass pan). Lightly spray 9x13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Place large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat, and add olive oil. When oil is hot, add onion, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Saute over medium heat about 8 minutes, or until onion is soft. Add mushrooms and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Saute about 5 minutes, then cover and cook 10 minutes longer over medium heat. Stir in garlic, sherry, and lemon juice. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes longer, then remove from heat. Grind in black pepper to taste.
Distribute bread cubes evenly in prepared pan. Spread mushroom mixture on top of bread, being sure to include all of liquid.
Combine eggs and milk in blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Pour mixture over bread and mushrooms, and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Poke bread into liquid until all pieces are soaked. Bake in center of oven 35 to 40 minutes, or until custard is almost set. (It’s okay if it is still slightly wet on top, as it will continue to cook from its own heat for a few minutes after it comes out of the oven.)
Cool at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temp, with a dab of sour cream, yogurt, or Crème Fraiche on top of each serving.
(Recipe from Mollie Katzen’s Sunlight Café cookbook, © 2002)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Peach buttermilk bread pudding is summertime hit

The peaches are glowing on our two trees. They’re rosy and magnificent. And hard as rocks.

I hope they survive the garden pests long enough to ripen and be ready for picking and eating. People rave about Georgia peaches, and with good reason. You hardly ever hear anyone go on and on about New England peaches, but in fact we do enjoy some luscious, juicy varieties, just later in the season.

So while we await our own fruit supply, we’re going to the market to select some fresh peaches to enjoy in a wonderful peach bread pudding that was created by pudding connoisseurs Alma Gonzales and her son Rey. Sourdough bread takes well to fruit bread puddings and this one is no exception. It’s also rich with buttermilk and cream, golden raisins, and spices. They suggest serving the pudding with a drizzle of whipping cream. Ahhhhhhhh …


8 cups (1-1/2") stale sourdough bread cubes (with crust left on)
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk
1 cup golden raisins
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2-1/2 pounds ripe but firm peaches (about 8), peeled, pitted and sliced 1/8" thick
1 teaspoon butter
6 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup turbinado or demerara sugar
Heavy whipping cream for drizzling, optional

Arrange a rack in middle of oven and put large baking sheet on rack below it, to catch any drips. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl, toss together bread, buttermilk, heavy cream, milk, raisins, and nutmeg and set aside to soak for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, toss together 1/4 cup granulated sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and peaches, to coat; set aside.
Grease 9x13" casserole dish with butter. Whisk together eggs, vanilla, salt, and remaining 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar in medium bowl, then add to the bread mixture. Add macerated peaches and stir well to combine. Transfer to prepared dish and spread out evenly. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over top and bake until cooked through and deep golden brown, covering with a sheet of foil if parts of top get too dark, about 1-1/4 hours. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serve with a drizzle of cream, if desired.
(Recipe by Alma and Rey Gonzales.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Chocolate candy bread pudding celebrates chocolate day

Okay, so we’re a couple of days late. National Milk Chocolate Day was actually on July 28. But after spending a week cruising the Atlantic ocean and gazing at the lovely blue waters of Bermuda, we have to be forgiven for being somewhat distracted.

Now back to bread pudding. And what a delicious reality it is. In honor of this celebration of our favorite sweet and ingredient, we’ve created a bread pudding using chocolate almond bars. And because red fruits seem to go so well with chocolate, we decided to top our pudding with a raspberry sauce. We took a short cut making this delightful sauce – we melted some raspberry preserves, seeds and all, in a saucepan, and thinned it out with a few drops of Amaretto – for a wonderful and easy accent.

We found biting down on the occasional almond to be a delightful surprise, but if you don’t care for nuts, you can use plain chocolate. I tend to favor dark chocolate – the higher the number, the better, but the milk chocolate was actually very pleasant in this dish. And yes, we did enjoy it with our breakfast coffee – so what else is new?


2-1/2 cups bread cubes
1/2 cup (heaping) chopped milk chocolate (two 1.45-ounce bars), with or without almonds
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups milk, heated to scalding

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine bread cubes and chocolate pieces in greased 1-1/2-quart baking dish. In large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon. Add hot milk slowly, stirring. Pour over bread mixture. Push bread down into liquid. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until puffy and firm and browned on top. Serve topped with raspberry sauce (below), whipped topping and fresh fruit. Serves 4-6.
Raspberry Sauce: In saucepan, heat 1/2 cup (or amount of your choice) raspberry preserves on low heat until melted, stirring in a few spoonfuls of Amaretto or raspberry liqueur to thin out mixture.
© 2008 recipes by Portia Little, adapted from a recipe in Finger Lakes Food, Fact & Fancy cookbook by the same author.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Big Island Bread pudding photo

Here's a photo of the winner in the Taste of Puna Cook-Off from the previous article - Big Island Bread Pudding with Coconut Honey Sauce

Doesn't it look yummy!!

Big Island bread pudding is Hawaii Cook-Off winner

From a distant shore comes news of a bread pudding winning recipe. Several friends, including list mom, Sonia Martinez, from the Cooking with Aloha Internet group
Have shared a prize bread pudding recipe from the Taste of Puna Cook-Off in Keaau, Hawaii. This annual event draws a large crowd who wait anxiously to taste and enjoy the “provocative and creative dishes” from Puma.

Each year the proceeds from donations from the public tasting go to a charitable organization, which in this case was Best Friend Camp, a group that encourages building stronger families and encouraging positive parenting.

In the Best of Dessert Category event, the winner was the Big Island Bread Pudding with Coconut Honey Sauce by Michelle Grace. This delectable-sounding offering features tropical favorites such as bananas, pineapple, and macadamia nuts, with a sauce made with coconut milk and honey.

(Dessert category winner by Michelle Grace in the Taste of Puna Cook-Off)

Bread pudding:
1 loaf cinnamon bread, cut into 1” cubes
1/2 cup Puna white sugar
1/2 cup Puna brown sugar
2 cups whole milk
2 cups half & half
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 Keaau bananas, chopped
1 15-ounce can crushed pineapple, well drained
1 cup Puna Mac Nuts, toasted & chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 13x9” pan. In small bowl mix together bananas and pineapple until combined.
In medium saucepan combine white and brown sugars, milk, half & half, butter and salt. Heat over low heat until sugar and butter are melted, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
In small bowl whisk together eggs, vanilla and almond extract. Slowly add to milk mixture, whisking constantly until combined. Set aside.
Spread half of bread cubes in pan and sprinkle with half of banana mixture. Repeat with remaining bread and banana. Slowly pour egg/milk mixture over bread and fruit until completely saturated. Sprinkle with macadamia nuts and bake for 55-60 minutes or until golden-brown, puffy, and there is no liquid visible when punctured.

Coconut Honey Sauce:
1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
1/2 cup Keaau Bee Happy Christmas Berry Honey
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons water
4 teaspoons corn starch
2 tablespoons butter
1/16 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
In small bowl whisk together water and cornstarch until combined. Set aside.
In medium saucepan, bring coconut milk, honey, ginger, nutmeg and salt to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly to prevent burning. Whisking vigorously, add water/cornstarch mixture into coconut mixture and bring back to a simmer. Let bubble gently, whisking constantly to prevent lumps and burning, until thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in butter, almond and vanilla until smooth. Lavishly ladle over warm bread pudding and enjoy!!

Berry-brioche bread pudding is crunchy and creamy

We’re celebrating summer with a variety of fresh and fruity bread puddings. Recipes are cropping up everywhere – in magazines, from friends, on TV shows and Internet sites, and on the pages of our vast collection of cookbooks. “You must be onto something,” a friend pointed out to me recently as she mentioned a recipe and photo of a scrumptious Berry Brioche Bread Pudding that was featured in the “Last Bite” section in the May 2008 issue of Food & Wine.

This recipe, created by pastry chef Karen DeMasco of New York City’s Craft restaurant, features sweet brioche soaked in custard. Her pudding also has a crunch on top and bottom, which she achieves by sprinkling the bottom of the baking dish with turbinado sugar.

Today as we passed by a farm where people were picking raspberries, we wanted to just jump out and join them. We hope they left some berries so we can fill up our baskets next week. And try this bread pudding.

(Active: 20 min: Total: 1 hr 40 min plus cooling)
8 servings

Unsalted butter, for greasing dish
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1-12 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups blueberries and raspberries, plus more for serving
One 1-pound loaf brioche, cut into 1/2-inch dice
Whipped cream for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8x11-inch baking dish and coat with turbinado sugar.
In large saucepan, bring cream, milk, 2/3 cup granulated sugar, and salt to a simmer over moderately high heat, then remove from heat.
In bowl, whisk whole eggs, egg yolks and vanilla. Gradually whisk in hot cream until blended. Strain custard through a fine strainer into a large bowl.
In small bowl, toss blueberries and raspberries with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Using a fork, coarsely mash berries. Let stand until juicy, about 5 minutes.
Mix brioche into custard. Fold in mashed berries. Transfer pudding to prepared baking dish and sprinkle top with remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes, until set in center. Remove foil and bake in top third of oven for 20 minutes longer, until golden brown.
Preheat broiler. Broil pudding for 1 minute, until golden brown. Transfer to rack and let stand for 30 minutes, until cooled slightly. Cut bread pudding into squares and serve with blueberries, raspberries, and whipped cream.
(Recipe from Food & Wine, May 2008; created by pastry chef Karen DeMasco of Craft, 43 E. 19th St., New York City. Photo by Antonis Achilleos.)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Blueberry bread pudding is for brunch or dessert

This time of year often brings a lot of company. People yearning for a change of scenery or to enjoy some fresh ocean breezes. Most of them are easy to please in the food department. But sometimes you just want to show off a special dish.

I couldn’t resist this blueberry bread pudding that I found in a recent issue of Cooking Light. They suggest assembling it ahead to bake when ready, and serving it not only for dessert, but also as a main dish for brunch. If you don’t have enough blues on hand, you could always sub some other favorite berries, adjusting the sugar if necessary.

A helpful hint from the folks at Cooking Light is to “reserve the crusts you trim from the bread … and pulse in a food processor … fresh breadcrumbs should be stored in an airtight container and can be frozen for up to six months.” Now my freezer is already loaded with stale bread, but I’m sure we could fit in some crumbs too.


1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup
Cooking spray
2 cups blueberries
1 (16-ounce) loaf Italian bread
1-1/2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur (optional)
2 teaspoons powdered sugar

Combine first 3 ingredients in small saucepan over medium-high heat; cook for 2 minutes or until butter melts and sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Pour sugar mixture into 13x9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with blueberries.
Remove crust from bread; reserve crust for another use. Cut bread into 1-inch-thick slices. Arrange bread slices over blueberries.
Combine milk, vanilla, salt, and eggs in large bowl, stirring with whisk until frothy; stir in liqueur, if desired. Pour milk mixture over bread. Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight.
Uncover pan; let stand at room temp 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until browned. Place large platter or jelly roll pan upside down over baking pan; carefully invert onto platter. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. 9 servings.
CALORIES: 324 (29% from fat); FAT 10.3g (sat 5.1g mono3.4g. poly 0.9g); PROTEIN 7.9g; CARB 51g.; FIBER 1.8g; CHOL 137mg; IRON 1.8mg; SODIUM 380mg; CALC 110mg.
(Recipe from Cooking Light, June 2008)

Summer bread pudding is berry fine

Our blueberry bush in the back yard is finally producing. Each morning we go out to gather a few dozen berries to top our morning cereal. The nice thing is that they’re not coming ripe all at once – just enough to keep whetting our appetite for more.

This is definitely fresh berry season here in New England. We remember gathering blueberries in the woods on a misty Cape Cod morning as a child. And in Maine, those small, sweet delightful blues, are irresistible. Here in Rhode Island, although strawberry season has finished, it’s time to gather fragrant red raspberries at local farms. I love to enjoy these fresh berries just eaten out of hand. But if there are more than you can eat, you can make them into a luscious dessert, or freeze them to use later.

To freeze fresh berries, just put them on a layer on a tray in the freezer, and freeze until firm, then pop them into a freezer bag to use later in pancakes, pies, or cobblers. Or, sneak ‘em into your favorite fruit bread pudding. Here’s another no-bake summer pudding that’s ready for next-day eating.


2 pints fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced
1 pint fresh raspberries
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1/2 pint fresh blackberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice from 1 lemon
8 slices potato bread (stale), challah, or other good-quality white bread (see note)

Heat strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and sugar in large nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until berries begin to release their juice and sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Off heat, stir in lemon juice; let cool to room temp.
While berries are cooking, spray 9x5-inch loaf pan with vegetable cooking spray. Remove crusts from bread slices and trim them to fit in single layer in loaf pan (it will take approximately 2-1/2 slices to form 1 layer). Line loaf pan with plastic wrap. Make sure plastic wrap lies flat against surface of pan, leaving no air space.
Place loaf pan on rimmed cookie sheet and use slotted spoon to place about 2 cups fruit into bottom. Lightly soak enough bread slices for 1 layer in juice and place on top of fruit. Repeat with 2 more layers of fruit and bread. Top with remaining juices, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and weight with a second cookie sheet and several heavy cans. Refrigerate pudding for at least 8 and up to 24 hours.
Remove weights, cookie sheet, and plastic wrap. To unmold, invert onto platter; lift off loaf pan; remove plastic wrap and serve. Serves 6 to 8.
Per Serving: Cal 170; Fat 1.5 g; Sat fat 0 g; Chol 0 mg; Carb 40 g; Protein 3 g; Fiber 5 g; Sodium 140 mg(Note: Stale the bread for this recipe by leaving it out overnight. Otherwise, put the slices on a rack in a single layer into a 200-degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes, turning them once halfway through. If you use challah, the second choice for bread, cut it into 1/2-inch-thick slices. If neither potato bread nor challah is available, use a good-quality white sandwich bread with a dense, soft texture. To ensure that this larger pudding unmolds in one piece, use a greased loaf pan lined with plastic wrap. Whipped cream is the perfect accompaniment to summer pudding.)
(Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, July/1999. To view illustrated instructions, visit

Easy, make-ahead bread pudding is English summer specialty

The source for today’s recipe was a surprise. It was me. Well, uh, me in a past life. When I worked as a food columnist for the Boston Herald, my first ‘real’ job after college, my mom kept a scrapbook of my articles. Going through that book the other day I came across an article I had written for the Sunday section of the Herald that featured three recipes from England – “a country where berries and fruits grow with unmatched flavor, and cream is so thick a spoon can stand in it…” Ah, I could really sling it in those days.

Along with recipes for Peach Fool and Lemon Flummery, there was an easy recipe for Summer Pudding. We didn’t need a lot of step-by-step instructions back then – common sense took us through it. And there's no servings yield - guess they felt anyone could figure that one out.

Here’s to nostalgia and fresh fruit and keeping it simple!


1 quart berries
3/4 cup sugar (more or less according to taste)
Slices of bread

Cook berries with sugar a very little water until the juice runs freely. Line a suitable bowl with slices of bread, placing slices close together so that there is no space between them.
Pour into lined bowl the fruit and juice and cover with more bread. Put a plate on top and let pudding remain in refrigerator until the next day. Unmold and serve with thick cream.

No-bake bread pudding is perfect for a sizzling summer

Here’s the second installment of our series on “summer bread pudding.” No heating up the oven or the house. Keep it simple. A friend of mine found this recipe on the Internet, copied it, and gave it to me on a hot, muggy day here.

Use a mixture of your favorite berries to combine with some stale bread slices. Make it up the day before to enjoy the next day. And the next. If there’s any left over.


1/2 loaf sliced white bread with crusts removed
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
4 cups mixed summer berries (raspberries, sliced strawberries, blueberries, and/or blackberries)
Whipped cream to serve

Line 8x5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving enough to cover top of contents later.
Combine berries and sugar in saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring gently, until sugar dissolves and berries become juicy (about 5 minutes). Stir in orange juice.
Cover bottom of loaf pan with thin layer of berries. Top with layer of bread slices, making sure slices fit together tightly. Add another, thicker layer of berries. Top with layer of bread. Continue process until pan is full, ending with layer of bread. This will probably take 3 layers of berries and 3 layers of bread. Pour remaining juice over last layer of bread. Fold excess plastic wrap over top of bread pudding.
Place bread pan on plate or cookie sheet to catch any overflow of berry juice.
To weigh down pudding: Place second bread pan on top of pudding. Place a few soup or other cans inside empty loaf pan. Place in fridge to chill for at least 8 hours, and up to 24.
After pudding is set, unfold plastic wrap and unmold it by turning loaf pan onto platter. Serve sliced with a dollop of whipped cream. Serves 6-8.