Saturday, December 1, 2007

Half a Baguette Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding

I'm in the midst of finals, so things have been busy. I bought a Christmas tree, saw The Golden Compass (vastly dissapointing with a few good moments,) wrote papers, and had a nice cup of coffee with April from Cookworm.

After a short baking hiatus (anything longer than a few days seems to be a hiatus for me,) I made a bread pudding. This is another recipe from Fresh Every Day, one of my favorite cookbooks.

There are many different versions of bread pudding. Some are huge, rich, and seem like one big mass rather than individual bread cubes held together. Some require you to mash or cook the bread while others have conservative directions.

This pudding is somewhere in the middle. It's a little on the thin side, but it keeps well for later reheating. The apple pieces are a nice, tart contrast and the caramel sauce is fantastic. I managed to cook the caramel to my favorite, just under burned point. Next time I might use salted butter. The sauce makes up for the lack of richness in the recipe itself and adds a nice textural contrast. Ice cream or poured cream would also be nice accompaniments.

I will probably keep experimenting with recipes. I'm also planning to make Dorie Greenspan's gingerbread cake and some truffles from The Sweet Life.

Half a Baguette Bread Pudding w/ Caramel Pecan Sauce
Adapted from Fresh Every Day by Sara Foster

4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp packed light brown sugar
6 cups 1.5inch cubes of baguette, or country italian bread, or any day-old bread, biscuits or cake
2 cups milk
2 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp unfiltered apple juice or cider
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 granny smith or other good baking apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
2 tbsp dark rum

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Brush a 9x13in glass baking dish with 1 tbsp of melted butter and sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the bottom of the dish.

2. Place the bread cubes in a large mixing bowl and pour the milk over the bread. Let the bread sit until it is mushy and has absorbed almost all the milk, 4-5 minutes.

3. Whisk the eggs, sugar, apple juice, vanilla, and the remaining melted butter together in a seperate medium bowl. Pour this over the bread, add the apples, and stir gently until the ingredients are evenly distributed.

4. Pour the bread into the prepared baking dish using a rubber spatula or the edge of your hand to get all the liquid out of the bowl. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake the bread pudding for 50 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and continue baking 15-20 mins until the bread pudding is fluffy with a golden brown crust. While the pudding is baking, make the caramel pecan sauce.

5. Remove the baking dish from the oven, pour the rum over the top, and let it cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving. You can pour the caramel pecan sauce over the pudding while it's in the pan or over individual servings, but make sure to pour the sauce over the pudding while both the sauce and pudding are warm.

Caramel Pecan Sauce
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted

1. Stir the sugar and water together in a small saucepan placed over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the liquid to a boil without stirring. If sugar crystals appear on the sides of the pan, brush the sides down with a wet pastry brush. Boil the syrup for 4-5 minutes until it turns amber in color. Swirl the pan if it starts to color only in one area.

2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cream by pouring it down the side of the pan, stirring constantly. If the caramel hardens when you pour in the cream, put the saucepan back on low heat to soften. Add the butter and stir until all is incorporated. Stir in the pecans. Keep warm until ready to use or reheat over low heat.


Amanda said...

That pecan sauce looks delish! I made a bread pudding last week with challah bread and I didn't make enough of the custard so it came out more like a french toast. But it was still good. Next time I'm gonna use some of that sauce.

Patricia Scarpin said...

This looks so delicious - the oozing sauce is mouthwatering!