Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Got the blues? Add 'em to bread pudding!

As I walked along Narragansett Bay today, bundled up in a heavy jacket and knit hat, I dreamed of warm beach days, cookouts on the patio, and the fresh fruits of summer. We’ll have to be patient. Not until late summer will we be able to pick fresh blueberries in this neck of the woods. Or seashore as the case may be.

But meanwhile, we have to settle for the supermarket variety, which comes from who-knows-where, to enjoy in a delightful bread pudding that’s made with only two slices of good Italian or French bread. Not the soft puffy stuff you sometimes find in the super, but the real thing with crusty outers and a hearty inner that has some clout. This is my favorite breakfast BP, topped with more of the fresh blues, and of course some whipped cream. If you’re gonna sin, you might as well start early in the day.

If I don’t have any blues on hand, I just toss in whatever fresh fruit’s in the fridge, such as strawberries or raspberries, or blackberries. I suppose you could also use chopped dried fruits such as apricots, cherries, or those things they call Craisins. I’ve never tried dried fruits in this particular BP, but it sounds like a worthwhile experiment, maybe enhanced with a little good-smelling liqueur like kirsch or amaretto.

Mmm, let’s head to the kitchen and slice the bread, then cut it into strips, then crosswise into chunks. Your morning coffee will have a friend it doesn’t want to part with.


2 slices day-old Italian or French bread
1 large egg
1/4 cup heavy cream (or half & half if you’re cutting down)
3 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Generous dashes nutmeg and cinnamon
1/4 cup fresh blueberries (can use frozen; do not thaw)
A few additional berries to top pudding

Cut bread into 1/2-inch cubes. Place in buttered or cooking-sprayed 2-1/2-cup baking dish. In bowl, whisk together egg, cream, milk, sugar, butter, vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Stir in blueberries. Pour over bread cubes. Let stand in fridge about 30 minutes. Bake, uncovered, in preheated 350-degree F. oven 30-45 minutes, or until top is golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm, topped with whipped cream or topping, and a sprinkling of fresh blueberries. Serves 2.
(Note: make this BP the day before, then nuke until warm when ready to serve.)

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