Sunday, March 1, 2009
I had all this delicious french and Italian bread laying around the kitchen, that was going to go bad if we didn't eat it up soon. It was a few days old, so it was perfect for bread pudding. I was perusing our cookbook collection and getting discouraged at the amounts of butter, cream, and eggs all the recipes were calling for. Especially since the kids don't like "soaked" bread as Katie calls it. I knew that I would be eating most of this (Mr. Amazing, might have a little). I decided to combine a few recipes and throw in my own touches and see how it turned out. I was initially going to add some golden raisins, but remembered I had some dried cherries so I used those instead. Our home had that wonderful vanilla/cinnamon baked aroma as it was in the oven. I let it cool for a while, and then spooned up a little for myself. I took a bite and thought the custard had a nice creamy texture, I liked the pear/dried cherry combination. It was missing something though...it wasn't very sweet. Then I realized, I was making this homey dessert as I was prepping green beans, making Parmesan mashed potatoes, and checking Mr. Amazing's onions that were caramelizing on the stove. I forgot one ingredient, or was it a subconscious effort to make this dish lighter. Yep...that's right...sugar. I forgot the sugar. Surprisingly it wasn't bad, without it though. I drizzled on some warm maple syrup and it was fine. Today I had some with ice cream and you would never know the sugar was missing. Now mind you I might not make this without the sugar again, but I might try using half the amount called for. This turned out to be one of those blunders where I actually learned something, and it didn't taste bad either.
If you try it let me know what you think.
Pear and Dried Cherry Bread Pudding
4-5 cups cubed day-old French or Italian bread
6 tbs. butter melted
2 cups skim milk
1/4-1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
2 firm, but ripe pears (I used 1 Bosc and 1 D'anjou)
1/2 cup dried cherries
Spray a 2-qt. casserole with cooking spray. Place the bread cubes inside and toss with the butter. In a medium bowl beat the eggs; add the milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir in pears and dried cherries. Pour over the bread cubes and stir to coat. Bake, uncovered in a 375 degree oven for 40 mins or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or maple syrup.