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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Blueberry-Cranberry Bread Pudding with Blueberry Sauce & Fresh Whipped Cream

As it's the summer and I have some time on my hands, I've been trying out some new recipes with varying degrees of success. (Or, rather, I should say, with varying degrees of tastiness. They were all a "success" in that they were prepared properly, but some tasted like ass.) I made a cucumber-lychee gazpacho (as seen on Aarti Party), but I didn't really prefer the texture or the flavor (though the feta-paprika crostinis that went atop it were nice). I also tried pickling some watermelon rind because I saw competitors serve it up on Chopped several times and I loved the idea of not throwing out the rind. As it were, it stunk up my house and tasted as bad as it smelled. Yick! (On the bright side, I realized just how substantial my spice collection is--got to use quite a few I've never touched before.)

Last night, though, I finally "hit" with blueberry-cranberry bread pudding with a blueberry sauce and fresh whipped cream. I tasted a bite right out of the oven and was sad to have to wait until today to have a full portion. This afternoon, it was a big hit with my extended family, and it is at their urging that I'm sharing the recipes. I would like, of course, to credit the sources of the recipes (which I modified slightly and will be sharing the recipes as I made them): Robert Irvine (for the base of the bread pudding), Ina Garten (for the whipped cream), and Sherri Eldridge's Best of Blueberries (Harvest Hill, 1997-- for the sauce).

Blueberry-Cranberry Bread Pudding

1 loaf brioche bread (I used Wegman's Red, White, and Blue Bread, a 15 oz brioche-based loaf with dried cranberries and blueberries in it, topped with sugar. $5/loaf)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup whole milk (*I didn't have whole milk on hand, so I used 3/4 cup of 2% milk mixed with 1/4 cup light cream--it worked)
1 cup condensed milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice the bread into 1 inch cubes. (Most recipes call for day-old or stale bread. If you want to use fresh bread, you can dry your bread cubes out in the oven--15 minutes in a 325 degree oven. I did this for my pudding. Please note, however, that if you are using bread with sugar on top--like the Red, White, and Blue loaf I used--make sure the sugar side isn't against the pan; the sugar will burn. I had to trim a few bits off, but thankfully it didn't do too much damage. Also, in this case, I don't think I really needed to do this step; I think the fresh bread would have worked fine.) Toss with the melted butter and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, combine the eggs, milks, sugar, and vanilla until well-mixed.

Pour mixture atop the bread cubes. Gently press them into the liquid and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, to absorb the goodness. (This is a good time to clean up a bit.)

Pour the bread mixture into a buttered oven-proof dish (I used a 2.5qt square). Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the center springs back when you press on it.

Serve warm. Store extra in refrigerator.
Makes 6-8 servings.

Blueberry Sauce

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp corn starch
1/8 tsp (a "pinch") salt
2 cups blueberries
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest

Combine water, sugar, salt, and starch in a small saucepan. Heat on medium heat, stirring frequently until liquid boils and thickens. (It happens sort of suddenly and you'll notice little gelatinous strings appear. Then it becomes even more jellified--that's when it's ready.) At this point, add the blueberries and stir, bringing to a boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes. (The blueberries will break down a little and make the sauce, but some will remain whole.) Stir in the lemon juice and zest, then remove from heat. Let sauce cool slightly before using.

Spoon sauce over bread pudding.

Sauce can be served warm or cold, and is a great topping for ice cream or waffles, too! (Store extra in the refrigerator.)

Makes about 2 cups.

Fresh Whipped Cream

1 pint heavy whipping cream (keep in coldest part of fridge until ready to use--the colder the better!)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla

In a deep glass or metal bowl (preferably one that's been in the freezer for 15 minutes, though I skipped that step), use a hand mixer (or a stand mixer) to beat the whipping cream until thick. While you can, of course, whisk by hand, I wouldn't recommend it unless you've got incredible stamina and strong arms! (As you beat it, the cream will bubble up a lot and you'll wonder when it will come together. Around that time, you'll notice it thickening. It takes a couple of minutes, so hang in there.)

Once it is thick, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat for a bit longer, until cream forms stiff peaks.

Don't over beat, or it'll separate.

Serve chilled. Store in the coldest part of fridge.


I wish you success with this recipe. It's great for dessert, but could also make a decadent breakfast.

1 comment:

  1. This looks delicious : )
    I just read the article about you in Montgomery Media paper and I wanted to come over and let you know I support you. I am so MAD that this happened to you! Would love to join your facebook support page. Please let me know the link. Thanks, Becky


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