Posts Tagged 'bread'

Bread and Butter Pudding

This is kind of a tricky post for me to write, because I really don’t like bread pudding (or rice pudding, or most custards). I’m really not a picky eater, but there’s something about the texture of bread pudding that just bothers me. It’s not quite creamy, it’s not quite a custard…it’s the dessert that can’t make up its mind. And it doesn’t have frosting, which basically means its not worth eating.

But I realize there are millions of people out there that adore bread pudding, and my in-laws are two of them. My mother-in-law recently had a birthday and since Ireland is one of her favorite places on Earth, I turned to my new Irish cookbook to find something to bake for her. Bread and butter pudding immediately seemed like the perfect thing to make (and my father-in-law ended up saying it was some of the best he’d ever had, so I know I made the right choice).

Because I won’t blog anything without tasting it (unless it has meat), I can say that this, unfortunately, didn’t really change my opinion of bread pudding. I loved the brown sugar on top, though, and the cinnamon and nutmeg flavors were nice but not overpowering. I guess you’ll just have to take my in-laws’ word for it: this is a total winner!

Recipe:
(adapted from The Country Cooking of Ireland)

2 tbps softened butter
8 slices good white bread, crusts removed and cut diagonally in quarters
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups milk (I used 2%)
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Butter each triangle of bread on one side. Arrange the slices in a 2-quart baking dish, then sprinkle the raisins over them.

Mix 1/4 cup sugar wit the nutmeg and cinnamon, and sprinkle it over the bread slices.

Beat the eggs with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, then stir in the cream, milk, and vanilla. Pour evenly over the bread and then sprinkle the brown sugar over the top. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until browned on top (and liquid is absorbed).

Some say it’s even better after chilling in the refrigerator overnight.

Better than sliced bread

What could be better than sliced bread? FRIED bread. I know it sounds gross, but since I started seeing locals dipping fried breadsticks into their steaming bowls of bun or pho, I wanted to try it for myself.

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Look at those beauties. They are basically like unsweetened doughnuts, which might sound like an unlikely candidate for dipping in soup, but when they get soaked with broth they are SO good!

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Pesto Swirl Bread

I love baking bread on the weekends, when I’m not doing too much and have plenty of time to wait for it to rise.  I stumbled upon the fantastic Joy of Cooking recipe for basic white bread and made a few loaves to cut up for stuffing on Thanksgiving.  I liked it so much I wanted to make some to eat with dinner tonight, but with a twist.  I put some of the pesto from a few days ago on a flattened-out piece of dough and rolled it up. It was a nice dressed-up version of regular white bread and a perfect accompaniment to a simple dinner of pasta and salad.  I will definitely be making this again!

(adapted from Joy of Cooking)
2 tbsp warm water (about 11o F)
1 tsp active dry yeast 
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2-3 cup bread flour
about 1/4 cup pesto
Dissolve the yeast in the water and set aside.
Heat the milk, butter, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan, until it’s about 105 degrees.
Pour the yeast and the milk mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer and stir together.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in about 2 cups of flour and mix until a dough forms.  Switch to the dough hook and turn the mixer on to low speed (2).  Mix for about 8 minutes, adding flour a tablespoon at a time if dough seems especially sticky.
When the dough is smooth and elastic, form into a ball and place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap.
Let rise until doubled in size, about one hour.
Punch down, then let rise again for about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Grease a 5 x 9 loaf pan.
After the dough has risen, flatten it into a rectangle about 9″ by 9″
Spread the pesto evenly over the dough, then carefully roll it up.
Pinch together the seam and place the loaf seam-side down in the loaf pan
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
Set on a wire rack to cool.


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