Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Fall is officially here and I just love baking during this time of year. One thing that's near and dear to my heart is bread pudding! It's one of my favorite Autumn desserts, plus, it's a great way to use up breads that are about to go stale. With just a few ingredients, bread pudding makes such a homey, comforting dessert.
Who can resist the fragrance of warm cinnamon and spice on a chilly Autumn night? Soft cushions of assorted country breads lightly browned on top with a creamy custard below. Served warm, with a topping of vanilla bean ice cream and a drizzle of Amaretto sauce--not me for certain!
I had on hand a half loaf of peasant bread and a half loaf of crusty cinnamon raisin bread -- so this is what I used, plus we really enjoy the texture using a crustier grained bread in the pudding. I just love all those nooks and crannies where the cinnamon and spice can find it's way in to.
Because we are such big fruit eaters here and I still had on hand a few fresh plums in my basket after making some plum jelly, I tossed in a few of these along with just a bit of mashed pumpkin puree. The plums added just the right amount of tart to the recipe to offset the sweetness. Sometimes I use wild blueberries or apples or just plain old raisins, so you can't go wrong here using what fruits you have on hand. This bread pudding is packed with down home flavor and makes a wonderful addition to your dessert menu. The Amaretto sauce is to die for -really! But I'm one of those that just has to have that scoop of vanilla ice cream on any bread pudding I make as well.
Harvest Plum Bread Pudding
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup light cream
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
5 cups cubed day old stale or crusty bread
3/4 cup chopped plums- about six
1/2 stick unsalted melted butter
1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp each ginger, allspice & a pinch of cloves
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins if you aren't using a raisin bread
Cut the bread into cube sized pieces and place in a good sized bowl. Add cut pieces of plums, tossing with the bread cubes. Drizzle the melted butter over the bread cubes and toss all gently and set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together eggs.. once frothy, add in whole milk, cream, pumpkin, sugar and spices. Gently whisk a bit more after each addition. Place your buttered bread cubes in a greased 2 qt casserole dish. Give the egg mixture one last mix and pour evenly over the bread cubes. Place casserole into a larger baker filling it with water about a third of the way up the sides of your pudding dish. Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes or until set and golden on top. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and some Amaretto cream sauce on top. Enjoy!
Amaretto Cream Sauce
1/4 cup powdered sugar
5 TBLS unsalted butter
3/4 cup cream
1/4 cup milk
4 TBLS Amaretto liqueur
In a samll bowl dissolve the cornstarch in the Amaretto, whisking until smooth. In a saucepan scald the cream and milk over medium heat. Melt butter for 30 seconds in microwave and add to the scalded milk. Add the Amaretto slurry to the hot cream and bring to a gentle boil whisking constantly for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and add the powdered sugar. Whisk until completely dissolved. Cover and allow the cream to cool completely before serving over the bread pudding. See if you can resist a second serving. :)