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Friday, December 31, 2010

Jam and Bread Pudding

I can't believe that I haven't posted a recipe since Monday! It's been a crazy week here at our house. The holidays make things crazy enough, but on Tuesday my son had an accident while running in the house and hurt his two front teeth. We aren't sure what will happen; we have to wait another week to see the pediatric dentist again as only time will tell what will happen to his darling smile. So in addition to lots of tears shed by us all, it's been a challenging week in terms of cooking. Nothing too hard or chewy, of course. And trying to be clever with what's nutritous as well as soft.
Anyway, many, many weeks ago while reading a Food and Wine cookbook I came across this breakfast recipe for jam and bread pudding. It sounded decadent; a perfect breakfast for a once-a-year holiday treat. While the editors of the book chose to list it as a breakfast, it's also a delicious dessert.

Jam and Bread Pudding

One 1-lb loaf challah bread, sliced 1/2-inch thick
3/4 cup plus 3 tbsp strawberry jam or preserves
4 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups plus 1 tbsp whole milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish. Arrange half of the challah in the dish; tear the slices to fit. Spread 3/4 cup of the strawberry jam on top; cover with remaining challah.

2. Whisk the eggs with the granulated sugar, 2 1/2 cups of the milk and the vanilla and pour over the challah, pressing to soak. Brush the bread pudding with 4 tbsp of the butter. Cover with foil and bake for 24 minutes, or until set. Remove the foil halfway through.

3. Preheat the broiler. Blend the remaining 1 tbsp of milk with the confectioners' sugar. Add the remaining butter and strawberry jam and stir until the glaze is smooth. Spread all but 1/4 cup of the glaze over the bread pudding and broil until golden, about 2 minutes. Drizzle the bread pudding with the remaining glaze and serve.

The Verdict: Whoa, is this stuff decadent. And can you believe the recipe says that it's delicious drizzled with maple syrup? Who on earth would want to add more sugar?

This was a wonderful breakfast, but speaking of the sugar, feel free to play with the ingredients. You could probably cut the granulated sugar down by a 1/4 cup when blending with the eggs. The amount of jam can be reduced; I didn't measure out that much but just spread it from the jar onto the bread. I'm certain I didn't use 3/4 cup. Speaking of the jam, a nice addition to this recipe would be a layer of fresh or frozen (thawed) strawberries on top of the jam. One other sugar reduction is the glaze. We found that the glaze that topped the pudding was plenty; we didn't use any of the additional glaze.

I'm making it sound like this dish wasn't delicious because of all the sugar, but really it was. The already eggy challah bread puffed up wonderfully when soaked in the egg mixture. And the glaze was great. I think the only thing we were disappointed over was that the strawberry taste of the jam got lost. More fruit, please. By the way, the recipe didn't say how long to broil the pudding. With all that sugar, I should have known better. I thought four minutes would be OK and didn't watch it; two was plenty. What you're seeing in the picture was a little bit of what my mom used to call "pink." That's the nice way to say, yes, it got burned a little bit. The woes of being a home food blogger. I don't have a team of food designers to fix my mistakes.
I think with a little tweaking, this could become a holiday tradition.

1 comment:

  1. I made a similar breakfast for Christmas morning, but the middle layer was blueberries and cream cheese. I made mine the night before and kept it in the fridge overnight, then just had to throw it in the oven while we were opening presents in the morning!