Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bread pudding ice cream uses up the leftovers

Of course there can never be too much bread pudding. But sometimes when you’ve overextended yourself and baked a humongous pudding, it’s just possible that there may be some left over.

What to do? Kristin in Canada shares this recipe for bread pudding ice cream. Which is just what the name suggests – chunks of any kind of your favorite bread pudding stirred into a likewise favorite ice cream. We tried it and it’s wonderful – you crunch down on some frozen bread pudding chunks as the creamy ice cream dissolves on your tongue. You can make your own ice cream using this recipe, or just use a good store-bought variety and mix in the bread pudding pieces, then freeze for a while. This actually reminds me of a flavor of ice cream they used to call ‘frozen pudding,’ but which is now referred to as ‘rum raisin.’ The possibilities with this treat are limited only by your imagination. They should all be as easy as this one.


2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or bourbon
1 cup cubed bread pudding

Beat eggs and sugar together for 5 minutes, until thick and creamy. Stir in milk, cream and vanilla or bourbon. Refrigerate overnight. Freeze in an ice-cream freezer following the manufacturer’s instructions. Halfway through the process, add bread pudding cubes and finish. (Recipe from "Southern Food & Plantation Houses" by Lee Bailey, 1989)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mardi Gras bread pudding is festive dessert

Supper clubs have been cropping up all over the U.S. – gatherings of folks who enjoy good food and good fellowship.

And in fact, our own special group met last weekend at a charming pre-Civil-War home in Newport, where we celebrated a Mardi Gras theme with colored beads, flowers, Hurricane cocktails, and jambalaya.

And for dessert - you knew I was getting to this – a rich and wonderful bread pudding that was made even more delightful by a topping of melted white chocolate mixed with cream. This pudding is the original creation of Chef John D. Folse, who notes that bread pudding is considered the “apple pie” of South Louisiana. He attributes the French influence with its crusty French bread, and the German population who gave a good supply of milk and eggs, to providing one of the area’s premier desserts.

So here’s a toast to Mardi Gras, and to fine food, but most of all to our extra special supper club friends!


3 (10-inch) loaves French bread
4 eggs
6 egg yolks
4 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
9 ounces white chocolate

Slice French bread into 1/2-inch thick round croutons and set aside. In large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and egg yolks. Set aside. In large saucepan, combine cream, milk and sugar. Bring mixture to a low simmer then add white chocolate. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Remove pot from heat, and quickly stir in whisked eggs. Blend thoroughly to keep eggs from scrambling. In 9" x 13" baking dish, place bread slices in 2–3 layers. Pour half of cream mixture over bread. Press bread gently, allowing cream mixture to be absorbed evenly into bread. Once most of mixture has been soaked up, pour remaining cream over bread and press gently. Cover dish with foil and let soak a minimum of 5 hours prior to baking. Preheat oven to 300°F. Bake covered approximately 1 hour. Remove foil and bake 45 additional minutes or until top is golden brown. This bread pudding is best chilled in refrigerator overnight, then cut into squares and heated in individual portions in microwave. If desired, create a white chocolate sauce for topping bread pudding by combining 8 ounces melted white chocolate and 3 ounces heavy whipping cream. This may be done in a double boiler or microwave.
(Recipe from the kitchen of Chef John D. Folse, CEC, AAC)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mushrooms star in hearty bread pudding

Okay, time to put a lid on all those Valentine’s Day sweets. Enough already! Now we must consider some foods that don’t contain sugar. Yes, we must. And believe it or not, we do have other favorites besides chocolate. So today we’re going to whip up a dish that’s full of a very special ingredient, the mushroom. You can never have enough of these heavenly critters, if you ask me, and this one is bursting with earthy creminis, those hearty although younger, smaller cousins of the portabellas. This pudding hits all the comfort food buttons on a cold New England day in February. Nice for a main dish or lunch offering, along with some crisp salad greens.

Thanks to Kristin Molnar of Canada who gave us the heads-up on this wonderful recipe that comes from Every Day with Rachael Ray. You can always count on Rachael for a recipe that’s delicious and not too time consuming.


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Two 6-ounce packages cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves, garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and Pepper
6 large eggs
2 cups milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms, garlic, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cook, stirring, until mushrooms are browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
In large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir in bread cubes and let soak for 10 minutes. Stir in mushroom mixture and mozzarella. Transfer to greased 1-1/2-quart baking dish; sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan on top. Bake until golden, about 45 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
Serves 4. Prep time: 30 minutes. Bake time: 45 minutes.
(Recipe by Christina Stanley-Salerno on Every Day with Rachael Ray, February 2009. Photo by Kana Okada.)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day bread pudding says "I love you"

I think I spotted every male over the age of 12 out shopping for Valentine’s Day – puzzling over cards, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, and cuddly teddy bears. And in the kitchen we’re planning our own feast – a decadent chocolate bread pudding, flavored with Kahlua, and the ever-popular Valentine’s Day chocolate. This is healthier for your sweetie than many of those ultra-rich desserts too. Made with reduced-fat milk and just one egg, the recipe comes from Cooking Light magazine, and the flavor is superb!!!

If you can’t find Hawaiian bread, which is a soft sweet bread, you can substitute a good egg bread, such as challah.

Here’s to chocolate, and romance, and happy Valentine’s Day!!


1 3/4 cups (1/2-inch) cubed Hawaiian sweet bread
2/3 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon Kahlúa (coffee-flavored liqueur)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Arrange bread cubes in single layer on baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 5 minutes or until toasted. Remove bread from oven; decrease oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
Combine milk and next 5 ingredients (milk through egg) in medium bowl, stirring well with whisk. Add bread, tossing gently to coat. Cover and chill 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
Divide half of bread mixture evenly between 2 (6-ounce) ramekins or custard cups coated with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with half of chocolate. Divide remaining bread mixture between ramekins; top with remaining chocolate.
Place ramekins in 8-inch square baking pan; add hot water to pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake at 325 degrees F. for 35 minutes or until set. Serve each pudding warm with 1 tablespoon whipped topping. Yield: 2 servings.
CALORIES 319 (30% from fat); FAT 10.6g (sat 5.2g,mono 3.6g,poly 0.8g); IRON 1.8mg; CHOLESTEROL 121mg; CALCIUM 125mg; CARBOHYDRATE 45.3g; SODIUM 141mg; PROTEIN 9.8g; FIBER 2.1g
(Recipe from Cooking Light, January 2003. Photo by Becky Luigart-Stayner; styling by Lydia DeGaris-Pursell)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Vanilla chai bread pudding is easy and delicious

One of my most favorite places to shop for food in the whole wide world is Trader Joe’s. Whenever I get up to Massachusetts I stop in the Trader’s in Framingham, where I load up my cart. So when I came across this bread pudding I knew it had to be great, flavored with Trader’s chai mix.

Using chai tea and also agave nectar in a bread pudding is also a neat and original idea. It was posted on the Cooking with Trader Joe’s blog by Deana Gunn, under the vegetarian and vegan recipes. Ahhh, I can just smell the wonderful aroma … sigh …


A little more than 1/2 of a 1-lb challah loaf cubed into 1/2-inch chunks (about 6 cups worth)
3 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons Spicy Chai Latte Mix powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup agave nectar
You will also need six 6-ounce ramekins (These are the smaller size ones which are 3.5 inch diameter)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.Place cubed bread in medium sized bowl.
3. In separate bowl, combine eggs, cream, powder, vanilla, and agave. Whisk together until mixture is smooth and all powder has dissolved.
4. Pour mixture over bread and let it soak for 10 minutes. Do not stir since that will create a mush. Once or twice, using large spoon or spatula, gently flip some of the bread over so that mixture soaks in evenly.
5. Fill each well-buttered or oiled ramekin with some of the bread. Press gently to compact slightly.
6. Place ramekins in baking dish and fill baking dish with hot water until water is halfway up sides of ramekins.
7. Place in oven (carefully!), drape with foil, and bake for about 30 minutes until bread pudding is firm in center.
8.Pop out of ramekin if desired. Serve warm with ice cream, frozen yogurt, or drizzle with chocolate sauce. (Note from Deana Gunn: In the photos, I garnished it with a piece of candied ginger.
(Recipe posted by Deana Gunn on the blog, Cooking with Trader Joes, 2009)

Chocolate bread pudding souffles are low-cal Valentine goodies

We must serve something chocolate for Valentine’s Day. That’s a given. Choosing from a long list of delectable treats is a problem. Well, of course we could solve it by making them all. And high on our agenda is today’s recipe for these lovely soufflés that are not only special, but also low in calories.

Thanks to Betty in California for sharing this recipe, and also to the Betty Crocker Test Kitchens for coming up with it. They suggest serving these desserts as soon as they come out of the oven.


Nonstick cooking spray
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-1/3 cup fat-free milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups dry French bread cubes (crusts removed)
1 tablespoon margarine or butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
3 tablespoons sugar

1. To attach foil collars to eight 5-ounce soufflé dishes, fold eight 12x4-inch strips of foil in half lengthwise. Lightly coat one side of each strip with nonstick cooking spray; sprinkle each with 1/4 teaspoon sugar. Place collars around ungreased soufflé dishes, sugar side toward center, extending 1 inch above dishes. Secure with tape or piece of 100-percent-cotton string. Set soufflé; dishes aside.
2. In medium bowl stir together 1/4 cup sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon; add 2/3 cup milk and vanilla. Stir in bread cubes; set aside.
3. In small saucepan melt margarine or butter. Stir in flour. Add remaining 2/3 cup milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat. In large mixing bowl beat egg yolks for 5 minutes or until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually stir in flour mixture; stir in bread mixture.
4. Wash beaters thoroughly. In large mixing bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add 3 tablespoons sugar, beating until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Fold bread mixture into beaten egg whites. Divide among prepared soufflé dishes.
5. Bake in 350 degrees F; oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until knife inserted near centers comes out clean. Serve immediately. Makes 8 soufflés.
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: Servings: 8 soufflés Calories 153 Total Fat (g) 4 Saturated Fat (g) 1 Monounsaturated Fat (g) x Polyunsaturated Fat (g) x Cholesterol (mg) 81 Sodium (mg) 137 Carbohydrate (g) 23 · Total Sugar (g) x Fiber (g) 0 Protein (g) 6 Vitamin A (DV%) 16 Vitamin C (DV%) x Calcium (DV%) Iron (DV%) Diabetic Exchanges Starch (d.e.) 1.5 Fat (d.e.) .5
(Recipe from Betty Crocker Test Kitchens)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Simple bread pudding brings memories back

I have just finished the book, “The Tenth Muse, My Life in Food,” by Judith Jones, a memoir from the legendary editor who published Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. With its down-to-earth approach to both food and people, this book provides a wonderful history of American gastronomy, including Jones’ publishing experiences with James Beard, M.F.K Fisher, Edna Lewis, and Lidia Bastianich, to name just a few culinary luminaries.

And, ta tum, Jones is also a huge fan of bread pudding! Ya just gotta love this woman!

In the back of her book, Jones provides a selection of recipes, including one that she calls simply, “Bread Pudding.” She mentions having a bread pudding at a country inn in Wales that brought back memories of puddings she’d had in her childhood. As she talks about the “hot raisins bursting in my mouth, the sensation … so powerful that the tears rolled down my cheeks (adding a little salty flavor,” you have to marvel at her descriptive qualities.

We made the pudding from the recipe in the book and it was indeed delightful, in the way that basic bread puddings are. And this one had the added charm of a hint of lemon, from both freshly grated lemon rind, and also lemon juice. It’s one of those classic bread puddings that will stand the test of time. I used Italian bread slices in this recipe and did not remove the crusts.

Jones provides hints to go along with many of her recipes, such as the one for this dish that she says she found when working with Edna Lewis: “I discovered … how much better crushed sugar cubes are than plain granulated sugar as a topping. They’re particularly good if you’ve stored them in a jar with a vanilla bean.” She also comments that she’s had bread pudding “for breakfast straight from the fridge.” Now there’s a gal after my own heart.

(a favorite of Judith Jones, from her book, The Tenth Muse, My Life in Food)

2-1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter, plus a little for buttering the dish
3 slices homemade-type bread, crusts removed, crumbled to make 1-1/2 cups
1/2 cup raisins
Grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
About 4 gratings of nutmeg (about 1/8 teaspoon)
Topping: crushed sugar cubes, to make about 2 tablespoons
For serving: heavy cream

Heat the milk with the butter, stirring until melted. Remove from the heat, stir in the crumbled bread, raisins, grated lemon rind, and lemon juice, and let cool to lukewarm. Separate the eggs, and beat the yolks into the milk and butter along with the sugar. Beat the whites in a clean bowl until they form soft peaks, and fold them into the pudding mixture. Season with nutmeg, and turn into a lightly buttered shallow baking dish. Sprinkle the crushed sugar cubes on top. Set the dish in a pan of simmering water, and bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for 1 hour. Serve warm with a pitcher of heavy cream.
(From The Tenth Muse, My Life in Food, by Judith Jones, 2007)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Jelly doughnut bread pudding is Valentine's Day red

In addition to bread pudding and chocolate, what really makes my mouth water is a jelly doughnut. Or actually more than one jelly doughnut. So when I saw this recipe for Jelly Doughnut Pudding, of course I was intrigued. It was posted by Alex Witchel in The New York Times this past week, and thanks to Nancy Mosher of New York for alerting me to the article.

On a richness scale, this one scores as close to a Ten as you can get, with heavy cream, eggs and egg yolks, and of course the doughnuts themselves. We’d like to try it, but there’s usually not a crumb left when we have jelly donuts in the house. It does sound very pretty for Valentine’s Day, however, with alternating layers of sliced donuts and custard.

(Time: About 2 1/2 hours)

3 1/2 cups heavy cream, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
8 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
14 jelly doughnuts, preferably filled with raspberry jam
Butter, for greasing pan

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Fill a kettle with water and place over high heat to bring to a boil. In a large mixing bowl, combine cream, milk, 1 1/2 cups sugar, eggs, egg yolks and vanilla. Whisk to blend.
2. Using a serrated knife, gently slice doughnuts from top to bottom in 1/4-inch slices. Butter a 9-by-12-inch baking pan and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Pour about 1/2 inch of the cream mixture into pan. Arrange a layer of sliced doughnuts in pan, overlapping them slightly. Top with another layer, pressing them down slightly to moisten them. Top with a small amount of cream mixture.
3. Arrange 2 more layers of sliced doughnuts, and pour remaining liquid evenly over top. Press down gently to moisten. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Cover pan tightly with foil, and place in a larger pan. Fill larger pan with boiling water until three-quarters up the side of pan.
4. Bake for 1 hour 50 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until top is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Turn off oven, open door slightly, and leave in oven for an additional 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings.
(Recipe posted by Alex Witchel in The New York Times, January 28, 2009)