Sunday, June 1, 2008

Bread pudding "pears" with pecans for breakfast

Knowing I had to get away at the crack of dawn the other day, I needed to plan a breakfast that would take a minimum of effort. Bearing in mind that I’m usually comatose before my a.m. java ingestion takes effect. Cold cereal? No way.

I consulted with my kitchen companion and culinary advisor, Spooky the tuxedo cat, who pointed to the remains of some great Italian bread on the kitchen counter that had come from our open hearth wood-fired bakery in town. Aha! With creative juices flowing, I added chunks of the bread to a ceramic casserole dish. In the fridge was a lovely Anjou pear, which I chopped up and tossed in with the bread. After pouring on the egg/milk mixture I decided it needed a crunch factor, so I topped it all with some whole Georgia pecans.

I’d added pears to a bread pudding only once before and had forgotten how wonderful they can be – more subtle than tangy apples and with a delicate sweetness. You don’t even need to peel them, which is a plus too. Breakfast hasn’t been that good in a long time. Well, uh, since I had my last breakfast bread pudding!


1-1/2 cups dry Italian bread, town into pieces
1 small firm pear, unpeeled, diced (about 3/4 cup)
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk, or half & half, or heavy cream
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup (about) pecans – in large chunks or kept whole
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Spray ceramic baking dish with cooking spray. Toss in bread pieces and diced pears. In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk or cream, brown sugar, and vanilla. Pour liquid over bread/pear mixture. Top with pecans, drizzle with melted butter, and sprinkle with sugar/cinnamon. Let sit about 1/2 hour. Bake in 350-degree F. oven for 45-60 minutes or until puffed and browned on top. Serves 2-4.
© 2008, Recipe by Portia Little.

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