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.