Monday, May 5, 2008

Whole wheat bread pudding is studded with cherries

My shelves are lined with cookbooks. And while many of them are just collector’s items, such as the early 20th-century books that belonged to my mom, there are many books that I turn to again and again to cook from. One of my recent acquisitions is the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Book.

I’ve tried several recipes from this book, with great results – the Sour Cream Muffins (I added fresh blueberries), Simple Spelt Pancakes (a good, thick buckwheat-like pancake), the Cherry Chocolate Scones, and the Maple Granola, to name just a few.

The book also features some tempting bread pudding recipes, which I have tagged for my ever-growing to-try list, such as the Cherry-Almond Bread Pudding below. I have such confidence in the quality of the recipes in this book that I don’t think there’s a single thing that won’t come out really great. The book gives a few tips for making bread puddings with whole grain breads, some of which I list below.

(Suggestions from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook)
- Use a “slightly sweet, soft whole wheat bread, unless you plan to let the bread soak overnight before baking.”
- Increase the liquid-to-bread ratio when using whole grain breads, and give the bread a long period of time to absorb the custard.
- To speed up the process, “heat the liquid in the recipe, whisk it into the eggs, and pour the warm custard over the bread to soak while the oven preheats.”
- For a lower-fat bread pudding, use low-fat milk, but don’t heat it. Instead whisk it into the eggs, and let the bread soak up the liquid, at least an hour, or overnight.

(from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking)
Yield: 16 servings

3 cups (12 ounces) frozen sour cherries or 2 (15-ounce) cans, drained
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 cups (9 ounces) cubed, fresh whole wheat bread
3 large eggs
2 cups (16 ounces) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
1/4 cup (1-7/8 ounces) packed light or dark brown sugar
1 cup (3 ounces) sliced almonds

Pudding: Place cherries, sugar, and cinnamon in large mixing bowl. Stir to coat cherries. Add bread cubes. In separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, extracts and salt. Pour egg mixture over bread cubes in bowl and stir to coat bread thoroughly. Let mixture sit for 30 minutes so bread can soak up egg mixture.
While bread is soaking, preheat oven to 325 degrees F. and butter 9-inch pan.
Topping: Melt butter in medium saucepan. Stir in brown sugar and cook until sugar melts and mixture is bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in almonds; set aside.
Pour pudding mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes; remove from oven and sprinkle topping evenly over pudding. Return to oven and bake until pudding is puffed and set, and sides are pulling away from edges of pan, 25 to 30 minutes. A clean knife inserted in center will come out almost clean. Remove pudding from oven and let cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm with ice cream.


Rochelle R. said...

Thanks for these tips. I usually eat whole wheat bread and was wondering if it would make an OK bread pudding.

Portia Little said...

Rochelle, whole wheat bread makes a very flavorful bread pudding, both for sweet puddings and also for the savory ones. The most important thing to remember, as with the other bread types, is to dry the bread out before you add it - either by leaving the slices out in the air, or toasting them slightly in a very low oven.