Wife Jan has a former student coming in as a guest speaker. When he was a student he had a chance to take some of my monkey bread home to his son. he asked if I would make more—how could I refuse?
Category Archives: Desserts & Treats
I had been planning to make cheese fondue for a Sunday dinner when Daughter Miriam begged off at the last minute. While I had not yet grated the cheese, I was left with a whole loaf of French bread cut into little cubes. I needed to think of something to do with these, if I was not going to dip them into melted cheese sauce. I could make salad croutons, a cheese strada, or bread pudding. Wife Jan is very fond of bread pudding.
Note: While none of us children copied down her recipe, this close to what my mother Claudia would have made as I was growing up.
Karl’s Bread Pudding
1 cup half and half cream
2 Tbs. butter, melted
2 Tbs. Karl’s Orange Infused Sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon, ground
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. nutmeg, fresh grated
½ tsp. kosher salt
Pinch cloves, ground
1 loaf French bread, cubed
½ cup currents
1. Put the eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk them lightly.
2. Whisk in the cream and melted butter into the eggs.
Tip: The butter will most likely congeal into little lumps, but do not be concerned with this.
3. Add the sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, salt, and cloves.
4. Whisk to mix the ingredients.
5. Add the bread cubes and currents.
6. Fold the bread and fruit into the wet ingredients.
Note: This mixture will be really wet. This is as it should be.
7. Pour the pudding mix into a Pam-ed, or buttered, casserole dish that is large enough to take all of the pudding.
Tip: You want at least a quarter of an inch between the top of the pudding and the lip of the casserole. Otherwise, it might spill over onto your oven as it bakes. I always bake with a large baking tray on the lower rack to catch any drips. It is easier to clean a baking tray than a whole oven.
8. Let the pudding stand for ten to 15 minutes.
Tip: This rest allows the bread and almond meal to absorb some of the excess liquid.
Note: My mother would usually prepare the dish to this point the night before and let it soak, covered, overnight.
9. Cover the casserole with the lid—if it has one—or with aluminum foil.
10. Preheat the oven to 350° F
11. Put the bread pudding in oven and bake for 25 minutes.
Tip: Until the center no longer jiggles loosely, but it is still not completely set.
12. Remove the foil and switch the oven to broil—still at 350° F.
13. Broil for another 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
14. Let the pudding cool for ten minutes and scoop out to serve warm or chill completely and serve as slices.
I have dozens of pictures on my desktop of dishes I that have created and never gotten around to posting. Rice pudding is a comfort dessert in our house. When one of my girls has had a rough day they ask for rice pudding. Over the years, I have made many variations—1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. I had bought some shredded coconut for another dish, but when it came time to use it I was not able to find where I had put it away. Having found it I decided to use it in a rice pudding.
Wife Jan has started research for her next book and is interviewing the denizens of Silicon Valley again. She cannot afford to pay the people who talk to her, but she wanted to show her appreciation for taking up their time. She asked me to whip up some jam to give them. It is stone fruit season, so white peach jam seemed appropriate.
Note: I mentioned these treats in an earlier post and I felt I could not mention them without giving the recipe.
While I am sure that my mother was not the inventor of this dish—wife Jan insisted that her mother’s name be added to the title—it was a common holiday treat in our house growing up. Sweet Medjool dates stuffed with crunchy peanut butter and dusted with powdered sugar says “Christmas” in my house. These are easy to make, but they do not last long—even when there are no children around.
The first time I made strawberry jam, wife Jan complained that it was too sweet. I cut the sugar way back and found I had to add some commercial pectin to get my jam to set. I had also tried adding some ginger and I found that it was not enough to rise above the strawberry flavor. Boosting the amount of fresh ginger did the trick.
I found a new produce—new to me at least—at Trader Joe’s this week, Thomcord grapes. These grapes are a crossbreed of Thomson seedless and Concord grapes. They have dark purple skins and a wonderful flavor. While my wife Jan does not like grape jelly—growing up her mother bought nothing but Welch’s grape jelly—daughter Eilene loves it. She asked me to turn these grapes into a jam.