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.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Summer bread pudding hits the spot when it's too hot to cook

We’re getting into the dog days of summer. I don’t know why we have to blame all this heat and discomfort on a critter from the canine family, but, no matter, it’s time to head for the beach. Or the AC. And just in time, I’ve been receiving recipes lately for something called “summer” bread pudding, that you can make without heating up the house. In fact, it’s made with layers of bread and berries that you cover and weight down, then keep overnight in the refrigerator, while the flavors meld. After a day or so it’s ready to serve, topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Today’s recipe is from one of my very favorite cookbooks, Caprial Cooks for Friends, by Caprial Pence, the award-winning chef and owner of Caprial’s Bistro in Portland, Oregon. Her recipes make for wonderful entertaining, and this one’s a good example. You don’t have to heat up the kitchen to make this summer treat, but it does take a bit of planning ahead so it will be ready for serving time.

In the next few blog articles, we’ll post some other recipes for “summer” bread pudding, but here’s the first installment.


3 cups raspberries, rinsed
1-1/2 cups blackberries, rinsed
1 cup blueberries, rinsed
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup raspberry liqueur
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
16 slices sweet egg bread, such as challah, or soft white bread
1 cup heavy whipping cream, as an accompaniment

In large saucepan over high heat, combine berries, sugar, liqueur, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil and cook just until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes.
Lightly grease eight 8-ounce ramekins. Using ramekin as a guide, trim each slice of bread into a circle, disgarding crusts. Using large slotted spoon, place a spoonful of cooled berry mixture in each ramekin, then top with a circle of bread. Divide remaining berry mixture among ramekins. Top each with another circle of bread. Divide remaining berry mixture among ramekins. Top with another circle of bread. Pour remaining juice over each of the puddings to soak. Place ramekins on baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and top with second baking sheet. Place 2 or 3 heavy cans on top to add weight. Refrigerate for 24 hours, or up to 2 days.
To serve, run knife around sides of ramekins, and turn each one over onto a place or pasta bowl to release the pudding. Top with dollop of whipped cream. Serves 8.
(Recipe from Caprial Cooks for Friends by Caprial Pence)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ambrosia bread pudding is blast from the past

Remember that fruit concoction from way back in the seventies that someone labeled “Ambrosia”? I must have been in a nostalgic frame of mind recently when I dredged that one out for a family cookout. I tossed some canned pineapple tidbits, mandarin orange segments, and mini marshmallows together with sour cream and let it sit for a while in the fridge.

Some people at the gathering oohed and ahhed about it (obviously too young to remember that it was a staple at every picnic several decades ago), while others said it was either too sweet, or they preferred fresh fruit, thank you.

So I was left with some of this goopy salad after the outing. And, with stale bread beckoning also, I consulted Spooky the culinary feline, about combining all this stuff into a bread pudding. She said, “Go for it!” We added a few chopped maraschino cherries, for color and a little added ‘oomph,’ to the mix. And her advice was, as usual dependable, and we wound up with a darn good bread pudding. And I can’t believe I actually did this!


2 to 3 cups stale bread cubes
1 cup ambrosia salad (see below)
1 tablespoon finely chopped maraschino cherries
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1-1/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 tablespoon butter

Place bread cubes in bottom of buttered or cooking-sprayed 1-1/2-quart (6-cup) baking dish. Gently mix in ambrosia and chopped cherries. In bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, milk, and orange juice. Stir in coconut extract. Pour liquid ingredients over bread mixture in pan. Scatter bits of butter on top. Let sit about 30 minutes. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes or until puffy on top and slightly browned. Serve with your favorite topping. Serves 6.
© 2008, recipe by Portia Little.
(Ambrosia: Combine equal amounts of pineapple tidbits, mandarin oranges, and mini marshmallows with sour cream until it meshes together well; let sit in fridge for a couple of hours to combine.)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Classic Louisiana bread pudding arrived today

What a wonderful surprise to open my e-mail box today and find a recipe from my good Internet friend Pepe in New Orleans. He found this classic bread pudding in a Louisiana Online magazine and very generously passed it on to me.

It’s loaded with some of our favorite goodies – coconut, crushed pineapple, and raisins. And to add to the richness is a full three-fourths of a cup of unsalted butter. Who could resist this wonderful offering? They suggest serving it with a warm rum or whiskey sauce, which I have added following the pudding recipe.

We haven’t been to New Orleans in about ten years, but with enticing dishes such as this, we may have to make it a destination.


1/2 loaf stale French bread
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
2-1/2 cups milk
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
1/2 cup grated coconut
Rum Sauce (below)

Tear bread into 1-inch chunks and set aside. Beat eggs, 1 stick butter, and sugar until creamy. Add both milks, salt, and vanilla; mix well. Fold in bread, raisins, pineapple, and coconut. Use remaining butter to coat well a 2-1/2 quart baking pan. Pour in pudding and bake at 350 degrees F. for 45-60 minutes, or until set.
Note: We like a light brown crust, so we do not bake pudding in a bain marie, though you may do so.
Serve with a warm rum or whiskey sauce.
(Recipe from Louisiana Online magazine, courtesy of Sarah Liberta)


1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream or half & half
1/2 cup brown sugar
Dash salt
2 tablespoons dark rum

Melt butter in saucepan; add cream, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat. Stir in rum. Rewarm over low heat, stirring.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Strawberries and cream bread pudding is berry good

When U.S. kids were asked to pick their favorite fruit, more than half of them chose the strawberry, according to information from the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

And no wonder – these bright red berries are nice to look at, fun to pick at local farms, good eating right out of hand. We love the fragrance of the fresh picked ones – if only someone could bottle that fragrance. Those perfume counter vendors could spritz you with Eau de Strawberry as you’re passing by.

They’re also yummy in so many favorite dishes such as the ever-popular traditional strawberry shortcake, as well as in pies, pancakes, scones, muffins, and cobblers. Toss ‘em into a fresh salad along with a balsamic dressing for a refreshing go-along with a summer lunch or dinner.

Today’s bread pudding recipe, which is beyond irresistible, has not only fresh berries, but also strawberry preserves for a double whammy of strawberries. Make it in the early morning before the heat creeps in. We’re going to enjoy it topped with some good vanilla ice cream on this lovely summer day. We thank Betty, our Internet friend from California, for sharing this recipe.


2 tablespoons butter, melted
7 slices day-old bread, torn into small pieces
3/4 cup chopped fresh strawberries
3 large eggs
1-1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup light cream, or half & half
1/4 cup strawberry preserves
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Spread melted butter on bottom and sides of 8-inch square baking dish. Toss bread with chopped strawberries, and spread in baking dish. Whisk eggs, milk, cream, strawberry preserves, sugar, and vanilla together in a bowl. Pour over bread. Let sit in fridge about 30 minutes for bread to absorb liquid. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake pudding 40-50 minutes, or until top is browned slightly and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serves 12.
(Recipe adapted from recipe on, submitted by T Gagne. Photo from

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Blueberry bread puddings have lemon topping

The blueberry bush in the back yard is brimming with berries. That’s great news, you say. Well, it is if you like gray/green berries. A grand total of four of them are now blue, and we hope by tomorrow will be ripe for picking. No need to rush these things. We put a net over the bush to keep our bird buddies and other critters away. Not that we don’t believe in sharing, but we do have our limits.

So to celebrate the future of big blues in the yard, we’re featuring these delightful blueberry bread puddings baked in ramekins and topped with a tart lemon curd made with fresh lemon juice. Lemon adds such a refreshing touch to summer desserts. Make these up in the morning while it’s still cool, and enjoy for dessert later.


1-1/4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
4-1/2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed French bread (about 8 ounces)
Cooking spray
1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, divided

Lemon curd:
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons butter

To prepare puddings: combine first 4 ingredients in large bowl, stirring well with whisk. Add bread, tossing to coat. Cover and chill 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Divide half of bread mixture evenly among 8 (6-ounce) ramekins or custard cups coated with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with 3/4 cup berries. Divide remaining bread mixture among ramekins; top with 3/4 cup berries.
Cover each ramekin with foil. Place ramekins in 13x9-inch baking pan; add hot water to pan to depth of 1 inch. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
To prepare lemon curd: combine 1/3 cup sugar and 1 egg in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring with whisk. Cook 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves and mixture is light in color, stirring constantly. Stir in lemon juice and butter; cook 2 minutes or until mixture coats back of a spoon, stirring constantly with whisk.
Place saucepan in large ice-filled bowl for 5 minutes or until lemon curd cools to room temp. Serve lemon curd over warm bread puddings. Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 bread pudding and 1 tablespoon lemon curd)
CALORIES 240 (20% from fat); FAT 5.2g (sat 2g, mono 1.8g, poly 0.7g); PROTEIN 7.1g; CHOLESTEROL 112mg; CALCIUM 84mg; SODIUM 234mg; FIBER 1.7g; IRON 1.2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 41.9g.
(Recipe from Cooking Light, November 2002)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Vegan bourbon peach bread pudding is summer pleasure

Since we’re in a summer fruit frame of mind, we’ll be posting some luscious bread pudding recipes using the best of the summer crop. Here’s a recipe using peaches that I found on a site called, “Healthy living with a twist,” where you can get “fresh ideas, videos, and articles on how to live a greener, healthier more balanced life.” This pudding features bourbon, or rum. If you’d prefer, you can substitute a little bit of rum flavoring for the booze.

From time to time we get requests for recipes for vegetarian or vegan bread puddings, and this looks like one of the best, using no animal products at all. It’s vegan, gluten-free, and allergen-free. We’re also going to add a category to our blog sidebar listing Vegetarian/Vegan Bread Puddings. Please note: a listing or mention of a particular product does not indicate our endorsement of that product; it's simply information about where you might find a particular product. Enjoy!!

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free, and Allergen-free)

1/4 cup
organic canola oil (Spectrum)
1 cup organic brown sugar
3 cups non-dairy milk, (rice milk, soy milk, or oat milk)
1 vanilla bean
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 heaping cups peaches, fresh or frozen, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons bourbon (all distilled alcohol is gluten-free, but if you'd rather not use bourbon, you can substitute rum)
5 cups gluten-free bread cut into 1/2-inch cubes (gluten-free bread really lends itself to bread pudding, try Ener-G or Food For Life; this recipe can also be made with regular day-old French bread, if you prefer)
3 tablespoons flax seed meal combined with 1/2 cup hot water ("flax eggs")
1/3 to 1/2 cup turbinado sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine canola oil with brown sugar in a heavy pan, and cook, stirring, over low heat about 3 minutes. Add non-dairy milk, stirring well to combine. Using a small sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds (they look like a black paste). Whisk the seeds into the pan. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and cinnamon. Whisk well. Add peaches, bring to a simmer and cook 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add bourbon. Pour over bread cubes and let soak 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add "flax eggs" to bread mixture, stirring well to combine. Pour into a greased 9"x9" or 8"x11" pan, at least 2 1/2" deep. Combine turbinado sugar with cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over top. Bake 1 hour until a caramelized golden brown on top. Allow to set for 1 hour before serving. Makes 6 servings.
(Posted on by Cybele Pascal, 2/6/07)